Police detain 10 relatives of Sara Sharif's father in Pakistan
Police detain 10 relatives of Sara Sharif’s father in Pakistan as net closes on the 41-year-old and his partner, 29, who fled UK after 10-year-old girl was found dead
- Sara, 10, was discovered abandoned and deceased at home in Woking, Surrey
- An international manhunt is underway for her father, step-mother and uncle
Ten relatives of the father of 10-year-old Sara Sharif have been detained for questioning by police in Pakistan as the net closes around the 41-year-old and his partner.
Sara’s father, Urfan Sharif, his partner Beinash Batool and his brother Faisal Marik, 28, fled the UK for Pakistan after her death, before her father alerted police by calling 999 once his flight had touched down in Islamabad.
Sara was found dead at the family home in Woking, Surrey, in the early hours of August 10.
A post-mortem examination found she had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’ over a ‘sustained and extended’ period of time, but did not determine an exact cause of death.
A police spokesperson in Jehlum, 108 miles north-west of Lahore, said Sharif and his wife Batool were in hiding and 10 close relatives have been taken into custody for questioning amid an investigation.
Ten relatives of the father of 10-year-old Sara Sharif have been detained for questioning by police in Pakistan
Sara Sharif’s body was found in their family house in Woking, Surey, with a post-mortem examination concluding she had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’
Police want to speak to Sara’s father (left) and his partner Beinash Batool (right)
Among those detained include Mohammad Sharif, Urfan’s father, his brothers and cousins, the spokesperson said. Police in Pakistan often detain the close relatives of wanted suspects. However, they are not kept in jail to avoid the intervention of a court.
It follows news that Surrey Police raided two houses in the UK amid their search for Sara’s family and to find answers as to exactly how she died.
The family’s previous address in Eden Grove Road, Byfleet, is being searched by police, as well as their most recent home address in Hammond Road, Horsell. Searches of the properties are expected to continue into next week and they will remain cordoned off.
At least 20 houses have been searched in Pakistan, reportedly focussed in to cities of Mirpur and Jhelum.
On Wednesday, Sara’s stepmother spoke publicly for the first time since the little girl was found dead.
In a clip of the footage posted online, Batool shows no emotion as she describes Sara’s death as ‘an incident’ and says that she and Sharif are willing to co-operate with UK authorities over the case.
Sara’s father remained silent throughout the clip, and Batool only spent a few seconds speaking about Sara before spending most of the video complaining of how her family were scared to go outside.
Sharif and Batool left Britain with five children aged between one and 13, as well as one of Sharif’s brothers.
Sara’s mother Olga Sharif gave an interview to the Polish television programme Uwaga! in which she spoke of the harrowing experience of going to view her daughter’s body.
Olga Sharif with a picture of her daughter Sara who was found dead at her home in Woking, Surrey
She said: ‘One of her cheeks was swollen and the other side was bruised.
‘Even now, when I close my eyes I can see what my baby looked like.’
Ms Sharif separated from her husband in 2015 and Sara and her older brother had been living with her until 2019, when the family court ruled they should live with their father.
Ms Sharif still had equal rights to see the children and said while that was easy to maintain initially, it became increasingly harder over time.
The eldest child taken to Pakistan with the family is Ms Sharif’s son.
Sara’s grandfather, who has since been detained, has told the BBC the girl’s death was an ‘accident’ and three family members who left the UK for Pakistan will ‘ultimately’ return to face police questioning.
But he also said his son should ‘cooperate with the police and face the law’.
Muhammad Sharif said he saw Sara’s father soon after he arrived in the city of Jhelum, in the South Asian country, and said his son had fled the UK out of ‘fear’.
In a video, Sara Sharif’s grandfather is shown saying: ‘Yes, they (Urfan Sharif and his wife Beinash Batool) should cooperate with the police and face the law, the law is everything and life without law is difficult.
‘My advice to them, is to face the law, they should present themselves to the police and tell them the truth about what occurred.’
‘If they release a video message, it would be good. And if they have more details they need to share (them) with the police. Sharing the truth is their fundamental right, it is not possible to hide things. The more they details they share, the better for them.’
Sara’s uncle said last month that his niece had fallen down the stairs and broken her neck.
Police have raided 20 homes in Pakistan in the hunt for Sara Sharif’s father, Urfan Sharif (left), and stepmother, Beinash Batool (right)
Imran Sharif is said to be assisting the hunt for his brother, Sara’s father, after it was reported police in Pakistan are under ‘tremendous pressure’ from the British High Commission to find him.
READ MORE: Sara Sharif’s fugitive father and stepmother describe her death as ‘incident’ and vow to ‘fight our case in UK court’ as couple, seen in first video since fleeing to Pakistan, reveal they’ve ‘run out of food’ and are in hiding over ‘safety fears’
He allegedly told officers: ‘Beinash was home with the children. Sara fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Beinash panicked and phoned Urfan.’
Imran denied knowing where Urfan and his family were, police in the city of Jhelum in Pakistan’s Punjab province said.
He is said to have told them: ‘I found out what happened to Sara through the international media. My parents told me Urfan briefly came home very upset. He kept saying they are going to take his children away from him.’
Surrey Police are appealing for information to help them gain a picture of Sara’s life.
Detective Superintendent Mark Chapman, from the Surrey Police and Sussex Police Major Crime Team, said: ‘We are working hard to progress the investigation into Sara’s murder and a key part of this is piecing together information about her life from anyone who knew her or her family.
‘We are grateful to everyone who has come forward with information, and I would like to stress that any information, no matter how insignificant it might seem, could be of use in developing our understanding of her lifestyle.
‘Every single piece of information that we receive is reviewed by the investigation team and further enquiries carried out if appropriate. I would urge anyone who may have information and hasn’t yet come forward to reach out to us.
‘There are a number of ways you can do this – you can report information via our portal, which is in both English and Urdu, you can call 101 if you would prefer to speak on the phone, or if you would like to remain anonymous, call the independent charity Crimestoppers.’
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