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Pakistan’s blue-eyed chaiwalla model belongs to Afghanistan, say authorities

Pakistani authorities have accused the famous ‘chaiwalla’, Arshad Khan, who won fans around the world of using forged documents to obtain a national identity card.

world Updated: Jul 11, 2017 22:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistani chaiwalla,blue-eyed chaiwalla,chaiwalla Arshad Khan
File photo of chaiwalla Arshad Khan, who shot to fame last year after photographer Jiah Ali shared this image of him on Instagram.(Jiah Ali/Instagram)

Remember the blue-eyed Pakistani chaiwalla who broke the internet several times after he was discovered at a roadside tea stall last year? Pakistani authorities are now saying he’s a Afghan who obtained a passport using fake documents.

Arshad Khan became a sensation when Pakistani photographer Jiah Ali posted a photo of him on her Instagram feed last October. As women all over the world swooned over him and his image was flashed by the media in almost every country, Khan appeared on TV shows and tried his hand at modelling.

On Tuesday, Geo News reported that Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) had accused Khan of using “fraudulent documents” to obtain a computerised national identity card in June.

Khan then applied for a Pakistani passport and during the scrutiny of his documents, several “red flags began to show”, the report said.

Staff at the passport office put his application on hold but Khan reportedly used his celebrity status to pressure officials and a passport was issued to him.

Geo News quoted its sources as saying that Khan and his family hailed from Kandahar in Afghanistan and had passed themselves off as members of the Moosakhel clan to acquire Pakistani documents.

Khan, however, denied he was an Afghan and told the channel that his father was born at Sargodha in Pakistani Punjab and that his family hailed from Mardan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

He said his father had migrated to Saudi Arabia in 1984 and worked there for 13 years before returning to Pakistan. He also said he lives on the outskirts of Islamabad with his family.

The channel reported that Khan did not provide any documents to corroborate his claims despite repeated requests.

Geo News also reported that Khan had deleted pictures posted on his facebook page that showed him receiving his identity card at the NADRA headquarters in Islamabad.

The report said Khan’s parents, Baaz Khan and Saran Bibi, were both Afghan refugees holding “refugee cards”.

First Published: Jul 11, 2017 22:14 IST