The green-eyed Afghan woman from the National Geographic magazine cover decades ago was arrested on Wednesday by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for living in the country on fraudulent identity papers, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported.
The haunting image of Sharbat Gula — taken at a refugee camp in Pakistan by photographer Steve McCurry in the 1980s when she was only 12 — became the most famous cover image in the magazine’s history.
Officials and family members confirmed that Gula, 44, was picked up from Gulistan Colony, situated near the Peshawar cantonment, by the FIA personnel.
The agency was looking into the issuance of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) in her name and in the names of two Afghan men who were mentioned as her sons in the registration forms.
She was produced before a magistrate who handed her over to the FIA on two-day physical remand.
A family member said that seven FIA personnel, including a lady officer, drove up to Gula’s house and drove away in two vehicles after taking her into custody.
He said that Gula was suffering from high blood pressure. Her three daughters and a son were grief-stricken following the arrest of their mother. He said that her husband Rehmat Gul died about four years ago.
The Afghan consul general in Peshawar, Abdul Waheed Poyan, has approached the authorities concerned to seek Gula’s release.