By Prof. Dr. Ahmed Saeed
Sharbat Gula is best known as the ‘Afghan Girl.’ She is 44 years old now, but she achieved her fame long ago when she appeared on the cover of June 1985 issue of the National Geographic. A young woman with a red headscarf and green eyes is looking intensely at the camera. The photo got worldwide fame and was compared to the likes of ‘Mona Lisa, ’ and it became the symbol for all the refugees around the world. She was photographed during the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan and then the world did not bother to find her again.
The forgotten story of this Afghan Girl was brought back to life after nearly two decades. Her rediscovery occurred in 2002 from Nasir Bagh Refugee Camp near Peshawar. A grown up woman was found and was allegedly identified as Sharbat Gula. Nobody knew where she had been from 1985 to 2002. Despite a bumpy ride of many ups and downs in her life, the recent developments in her life have raised many questions doubting her credibility.
Soon after her rediscovery, the world was reminded briefly about the ‘Mona Lisa of the Third World, ’ but she went back to silence again till now. Nobody knows the fact that the woman who has now gained international sympathy for being deported had been visiting Afghanistan frequently since thelast number of years. Due to her well-known fraud of getting a fake National Identity Card just like most of the Afghan refugees. A majority of media houses have not reported the fact that she not only got a fake CNICs for herself but also facilitated around 300-400 other illegal refugees to get their fake CNICs.
As part of the National Action Plan (NAP), 100% of the CNICs were re-verified by the Government.As a result, many corrupt officials were arrested for facilitating the illegal refugees. This particular Afghan Girl was investigated, and her links with those corrupt officials were uncovered. However, due to her international image, sympathy on humanitarian grounds was shown, the government decided to send her back with dignity. However, on the request of KPK Government, the Federal Government was considering an option to allow her to stay in Pakistan. Sharbat was living in Pakistan for over 35 years, and the host extended its hospitality as it has already been doing so for the past four decades to over 3 million people.
The twist came in her story when she announced that she wants to go ‘home.’ The home she never wanted to go back ever and the home she abandoned to get an illegal stay in Pakistan with a fake CNIC. “I want to go home tomorrow” she declared on 7th November 2016. The sudden change in her plan went unnoticed by many, but her storyline is quite clear. After the announcement by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that she will be welcomed in Afghanistan and will be given a home as well as money, things started to change.
Sharbat had several meetings with Afghan diplomats immediately after gaining media attention in her CNIC fraud. The RAW & NDS Nexus took advantage of the situation, and the woman was their perfect card to play in this situation. She is unwilling to go back but is called back to Afghanistan where the arrangements have been made to stage a press conference and continue the ongoing propaganda against Pakistan. Indian RAW has been following the same patterns of operations as they have used the same tactics against Pakistan over the years. Afghanistan has been acting as the new ‘MuktiBahini’ for the Indians and Kabul has been acting as a satellite state of India to conduct their proxy war against Pakistan.
Gula was already carrying out two main activities in Pakistan. Her primary tasks were to get fake ID cards for illegal Afghans. She already had good connections in the corrupt management of NADRA, KP Govt., SAFFRON Ministry and Afghan Commissionerate.
Sharbat has been promised a ‘Good Package’ by the Afghan President. The Afghan Diplomats who met her in the past week reassured her and guaranteed the delivery of that package. She is all set to go back to Afghanistan where she will be briefed by the RAW officials and will read out a script prepared by RAW, KHAD, and NDS. International media who already loves her will be invited to cover, and she will be narrating the story scripted by the Indians to malign the image of Pakistan. God knows how many rapes, detentions, and arrests she will describe where just a few days ago she was not even willing to leave Pakistan. Character Assassination of Pakistan at a global level is stagedalready, and this time Sharbat will be performing.
This whole story is the continuation of the ongoing isolation propaganda of the Indians against Pakistan. Pakistan has been relaxing and facilitating her along with her 3 million fellows who have changed the entire demographics of the country. The damage caused to the culture, society, and economy of Pakistan by the refugees over the decades has been irreparable.
The entire story of SharbatGula has raised many questions. First of all, the primary question arises is that why she instantly wants to leave Pakistan when she was begging to stay a few days ago? The second question is that will the RAW-NDS Nexus give her what the poor woman has been promised or will she be used and disposed of as always? Answers to these questions lie in the history between the two main countries of South Asia. Pakistan opened its gates to Afghans when the entire world shut theirs. However, the ever-ungrateful behavior of the Afghan administration played at the hands of India has been damaging the peace and stability of South Asia. The natural, historical and traditional alliance with Pakistan and Afghanistan has always been helpful for the Afghan. It did no good to Pakistan at all but only benefitted the Afghans. As a nation, they still love Pakistan, and most of them have permanently settled in Pakistan and never want to go back ever. However, the opportunist approach of Indians to use each chance they get against Pakistan has been shameful.
The recent development and Sharbat Gula story are driven by several motives. Following are the main driving forces behind these Indo-Afghan motives:
Even if SharbatGula dances on the Indian tunes, she lived in Pakistan for almost four decades of her life and was given love, honor, and hospitality and above all, respect. People of Pakistan have hosted the Afghans with open hearts and will continue to do so. The Indian tactics have always backfired on themselves no matter how smartly they play and this time too, it will not work for them as they have planned. ( The author is a well-known analyst and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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