1After requests for clemency from the man whose photograph made her famous and after former cricketer Imran Khan’s similar request, the famous National Geographic’Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula won’t be deported from Pakistan, despite a court in Peshawar ordering it, a government official told Dawn.

The decision to not deport Gula, who is now around 43 years old, was taken on humanitarian grounds and as a goodwill gesture towards Afghanistan, said the official Shaukat Yousafzai on Saturday, Dawn reported.

Gula was arrested by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency late last month for possessing an allegedly forged Computerised National Identity Card. Earlier this week, a special anti-corruption and immigration court in Peshawar ordered that Gula be deported after she serves a 15-day jail sentence and pays a fine of 110,000 Pakistani rupees.

After her arrest, Steve McCurry, the man whose photograph of a 12-year-old Gula made her famous in 1985, urged she not be tried on compassionate grounds. Pakistani cricketer-turned- politician Imran Khan also requested Khyber Pakhtunwa chief minister Pervez Khattak to not deport Gula.

Earlier this week, during a bail hearing before a special court earlier this week, Gula’s lawyers said she suffering from Hepatitis C, and because she’s widowed, is the sole supporter of her four children.

There are some three million Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan, half of whom are unregistered, Dawn said.
Pakistan hosts the third highest number of refugees in the world, according to a report released by rights group Amnesty International.
“Since 2009, Islamabad has repeatedly pushed back a deadline for them (Afghab refugees) to return, but fears are growing that the latest cut-off date in March 2017 will be final,” Dawn said.