Afghanistan seeks release of Sharbat Gula on humanitarian grounds

The Ambassador of Afghanistan in Pakistan, Dr Umar Zakhilwal has urged the government of Pakistan for treating of Afghan woman Sharbat Gula (Afghan Mona Lisa) as a celebrity of international fame and consider her innocent in fake identity card case as she was an illiterate widow having no intention to do any fraud.

Addressing a press conference here Wednesday, the Ambassador of Afghanistan said that the bail of Sharbat Gula should have been accepted as her Pakistani identity card was obtained by her late husband was blocked by NADRA authorities.

The Consul General of Afghanistan in Peshawar, Abdullah Waheed Poyan flanked the Ambassador. He appreciated that Pakistani authorities have shifted her to hospital from jail as she was suffering from Hepatitis and also extended her great respect, adding that a private room was provided her.

He said Sharbat Gula was living in Pakistan in a small house from a long time and didn’t commit any crime or fraud and recently she was apprehended by Federally Investigation Agency (FIA) for possessing fake identity card of Pakistan which was actually obtained by her late spouse.

Dr Umar Zakhilwal said that Sharbat Gula was having offers from various countries to settle there but she refused and preferred to stay in Pakistan. He said that despite international fame, Sharbat Gula does not want to become public figure rather she wants to spend a respectable life with her family to take care of her orphan children.

When asked whether the Afghan government was not aware of her until now and the destitute life she was spending while facing very hardship, the Afghan envoy replied that Afghanistan government was unaware of her presence in Pakistan as she was living a very unobtrusive life.

He admitted that several Afghan refugees obtained Pakistani identity cards owing to their impoverishment and uncertain circumstances in Afghanistan, adding that many Afghans are residing across the globe on Pakistani passports and send remittances in Pakistan and several have purchased properties in Pakistan.

The Afghan envoy said that despite unpleasant ties between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan the two nations are tied in a relation of traditional, cultural and religious similarities.

He was asked that several other Afghans were languishing in different jails of Pakistan as to why Afghanistan government was concerned about Sharbat Gula.

The Afghan envoy said Afghan embassy recently got 120 Afghans bailed out from Adyala jail Rawalpindi and efforts were underway for release of others.

He informed the media that as many as 600,000 Afghan refugees have left for Afghanistan in last three months and hoped that the rest would also be repatriated in dignified manners.