President’s promises to Sharbat Gula yet to be kept

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 03:16 Written by  Read 85 times

President Ashraf Ghani's pledge to provide a free flat to Sharbat Gula, once the iconic Afghan girl, in Kabul is yet to be honored, as her four-month house rent remains unpaid.

 

However, government officials say they were trying to translate into action the president’s promise held out to Gula after her expulsion from neighboring Pakistan.

On November 9, 2016, President Ghani had given away the keys of a residential apartment to Gula, promising health and education facilities for her children.

But Niamat Gul, a brother of Gula, complained the presidential commitment was yet to be implemented.

“The president provided us an apartment in the Qasaba area of Kabul, where security was no good. The government later rented a house for us in Shahr-i-Naw.

"The promised providing us with an independent house in Gulbahar Centre or in other secure place,” he recalled, complaining the rent of first six months of Gula’s house was paid by the government.

However, the rent for the last four months remained unpaid, Niamat Gul explained. “This house has been rented for a year. The property dealer and the house owner knock at our door daily and ask for the unpaid rent.”

However, the government has done nothing so far to clear the outstanding rent, Gul said, adding the house was located in a commercial area and they received a two-month electricity bills amounting to 50,000 afghanis.

He asked the relevant officials to address her sister’s problems.

But Syedullah Taraki, spokesman for the Administrative Office at the Presidential Palace, wrote on his Facebook page Ghani had ordered them to implement all promises made to Gula.

He added besides providing some other facilities to Gula, AOP had also paid for her medical treatment at the Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital in Kabul.

About the rent of Gula’s house, he said: “The Ministry of Finance has sent the rent to AOP and it will be passed on to Gula in the next three days;”

He added arranging an independent house for Gula was in process that would be completed in the near future.

Gula, who shot into prominence after the National Geographic published her cover photo in 1985, arrived in Kabul in November 2016 after being deported by Pakistan.

She had been arrested in Peshawar during a raid on her house and convicted of having fake ID papers. She served a 15-day jail sentence in a hospital where she was treated for Hepatitis C.