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National Geographic’s Iconic ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gulla Hospitalized under Police Custody in Pakistan

Police arrested Gulla, 46, last week at her residence in the city of Peshawar on charges of fraudulently obtaining Pakistani national identity cards for her herself and her two sons

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Pakistan Custody
Pakistan's Inam Khan, owner of a book shop shows a copy of a magazine with the photograph of Afghan refugee woman Sharbat Gulla, from his rare collection in Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 26, 2016. VOA

November 3, 2016: The National Geographic’s iconic “Afghan Girl”, Sharbat Gulla, has been hospitalized for unspecified medical treatment as she remains in police custody in Pakistan, officials said Thursday.

Police arrested Gulla, 46, last week at her residence in the city of Peshawar on charges of fraudulently obtaining Pakistani national identity cards for her herself and her two sons.

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Gulla’s arrest has outraged human rights and civil society activists in Pakistan, while authorities in Afghanistan criticized it as part of an alleged ongoing harassment campaign trying to force Afghan refugees to leave the country, but the Pakistani government defended their decision and maintains she broke the law.

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“Ms. Gula has been receiving adequate hospital treatment,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Thursday. “Let me reiterate that there has been no cruel action taken against her. The rightful legal course has been pursued in this case, and you will see the outcome shortly.”

People caught with possessing illegal Pakistani nationality cards could face up to 14 years in prison and a financial penalty of up to $5,000 if convicted. (VOA)

  • Shivani Vohra

    I don’t think she is a bad person.

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Pakistani Doctors Blame Quacks for Alarming Rise in HIV Cases: Report

Pakistan was considered a country of low HIV prevalence for long, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate with about 20,000 new HIV cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the UN

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HIV
Nearly 40 individual HPV types linked to HIV infection. Pixabay

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has blamed quack doctors practicing without training and professional certification for an alarming rise in the number of HIV positive patients in the country, the media reported on Wednesday.

The doctors associated with the PMA said that the quacks, especially fake dentists, spread the virus by using instruments that were not sterilized, adding that despite free-of-cost availability of life-saving antiretroviral drugs at government hospitals, mortality ratio among patients carrying the virus was also increasing.

An alarming surge in HIV cases has been witnessed in five districts of Pakistan’s Punjab province, with 70 to 90 cases being reported monthly at the main government health facility in Faisalabad city, Dawn News reported.

Earlier this month, an international team of experts from the World Health Organization kicked off an investigation into the sudden HIV outbreak in Pakistan’s Sindh province after over 700 people were diagnosed with the virus in a matter of weeks, most of them were children.

HIV
School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

Following the outbreak, authorities launched a crackdown on unqualified doctors as well as illegal blood banks and laboratories said to be involved in spreading the disease. At least 17 quack doctors were arrested and more than 70 clinics in Larkana district were shut down, according to Xinhua news agency.

According to the PMA, over 600,000 quacks are currently practicing in the country with more than 80,000 based in Punjab province alone.

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The association demanded the government to make all-out efforts to stop the menace of quackery in the country.

Pakistan was considered a country of low HIV prevalence for long, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate with about 20,000 new HIV cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the UN. (IANS)