National Geographic’s iconic ‘Afghan Girl’ arrested in Pakistan for forgery

Bibi was arrested from her home for forgery of a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC), FIA sources said.

By: IANS | Islamabad | Updated: October 26, 2016 4:08 pm
National Geographic, steve mccurry, national geographic afghan girl Sharbat Bibi became famous worldwide after her haunting closeup shot was published by the National Geographic. It was clicked at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar in 1984 by photographer Steve McCurry.

National Geographic’s famed ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Bibi was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday in Pakistan’s Peshawar city, authorities said. Bibi was arrested from her home for forgery of a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC), FIA sources said. Bibi has dual Pakistani and Afghan nationality, and both ID cards have been recovered from her, Dawn online reported.

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An FIA official said the officer who had issued the ID cards to Sharbat Bibi was now working as a deputy commissioner in customs and got an anticipatory bail to avoid arrest in the case. Last year, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) issued three CNICs to Sharbat Bibi and two men who claimed to be her sons. Issuance of CNICs were in violation to the rules and procedures of NADRA.

The official added that relatives present at the given address have refused to recognise two persons listed as her sons in the form. An inquiry had been launched with NADRA officials under fire for issuing CNICs to foreign nationals without legitimate documentation, Dawn online noted.

Sharbat Bibi became famously known as the ‘Afghan Girl’ when National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry captured her photograph at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp situated on the edge of Peshawar in 1984 and identified her as Sharbat Gula.

She gained worldwide recognition when her image was featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine at a time when she was approximately 12-years-old. She remained anonymous for years after her first photo made her an icon around the world and until she was discovered by National Geographic in 2002.