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Afghan envoy says “disappointed” at Gula’s bail rejection

ISLAMABAD, 02 NOV (DNA) –  Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, Wednesday showed disappointment a Peshawar court’s rejection of bail to the green-eyed Afghan girl Sharbat Gula, who is facing charges of getting fake Pakistani ID card.

The special judge, Immigration, Farah Jamshed, who had reserved the judgment on the bail petition on Tuesday, dismissed the petition. On Sunday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said he had urged the FIA to facilitate the Afghan woman’s release on humanitarian grounds.

“It is with utmost disappointment that despite assurances given by the Interior Minister Chaudhri Nisar Ali Khan and other government leaders the bail to free Sharbatgula from incarceration in Peshawar was rejected today,” ambassador Zakhilwal said.

The Afghan ambassador had earlier stated Gula, 46, could be freed on the first day of the hearing of her case. “At this stage I call on the Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan, to whom I will also send a formal request, to intervene with this case himself to instruct the release of Sharbatgula,” Zakhilwal said in a statement.

A special team of the FIA had arrested Gula on October 26 from Nauthia locality of Peshawar. Gula rose to famous after a photograph of her appeared on a 1985 cover of National Geographic.

Zakhilwal said if the Federal Government wants to free Sharbat Gula, as the Interior Minister publically had stated, then Gula needs not be subjected to court appearances and rulings.

“She has been in prison by charges laid against her by a federal agency and it is within the authority of the federal government to withdraw those charges and let her free. It would certainly be the right things to do,” the diplomat insisted.

Zakhilwal went on to say that the arrest of Gula, one of the world’s most recognized and Afghanistan’s most beloved image had already “hurt feelings” of all Afghans, and the Wednesday’s ruling was a further “disregard to those feelings and the bilateral people to people relations and the winning of hearts and minds that we claim to be important and therefore our aim.”

With respect to charges that Sharbathula’s Pak ID was either fake or obtained fraudulently, he said it was “neither fake, nor obtained fraudulently,” adding NADRA had issued the ID to her and her late husband as per its normal process years ago.

“Despite being world famous, Sharbatgula is a poor widow and the sole head of her family, comprising 4 children. She is sick, suffering from hepatitis which claimed the lives of her husband and elder daughter in the recent past,” the envoy said.

He said the Afghan government is ready to facilitate Gula as well as her children’s repatriation back to Afghanistan with dignity, and support her to resettle in her own country after her release.

“In fact, just prior to her arrest Sharbatgula had sold her small house in Peshawar and was getting ready to return with her family back to Afghanistan anyway,” he concluded. DNA

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