The subject of one of the most famous magazine covers of all-time, National Geographic’s “Afghan girl”, may have been caught living on fake identification papers in Pakistan.
Sharbat Gula rose to fame as the 12-year-old subject of Steve McCurry’s iconic photograph, when he found her huddled in a refugee camp in Afghanistan in 1985.
Seventeen years later, McCurry sought Gula out again and found her living in a remote Afghan village with three daughters and her baker husband.
Now a mugshot published by Pakistan national media appears to have outed Gula as an illegal immigrant.
The photo is from Gula’s computerised national identity card (CNIC), which is only eligible to Pakistan citizens.
Faik Ali Chachar, a spokesman for the national database and registration authority (NADRA), told the AFP that Gula’s card had been detected and blocked in August.
Four officials have already been suspended for their suspected involvement in what Pakistan officials claim to be just one of suspected 23,000 cases of ID fraud that has plagued NADRA since it launched in 2003.
In her official registration with NADRA, Gula said her name was “Sharbat Bibi”, and that she was born in January 1969 in Peshawar, Pakistan.
A NADRA official confirmed to AFP that the office was searching for Gula and that the documents she used to get the card were fake.