Pakistani court refuses bail for Sharbat Gula

The green-eyed Afghan woman immortalised on a 1985 cover of National Geographic magazine was on Wednesday refused bail by a Pakistani court, prompting the Afghan envoy to urge Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to intervene in her case.

The bail application of Sharbat Gula, 46, was turned down by a court in Peshawar. She was arrested last week by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for fraudulently obtaining a Pakistani ID card, a charge she has denied.

In 1984, National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry took the haunting image of Sharbat Gula, then aged about 12, at Nasir Bagh refugee camp on the edge of Peshawar. The photo, which became the most famous cover image in the magazine’s history, was likened to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

After a 17-year search, McCurry tracked Sharbat Gula in 2002 to a remote Afghan village, where she was married to a baker and the mother of three daughters. National Geographic also made a documentary about her life that dubbed her the “Mona Lisa of the Afghan war”.

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