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Police in Pakistan detain 10 close relatives of Sara Sharif in bid to draw out father
9 September 2023, 13:58
Police in Pakistan have detained 10 of Sara Sharif's close relatives in a bid to draw out her father and stepmother.
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Sara's father, Urfan Sharif, 41, and his partner Beinash Batool, 29, fled the UK for Pakistan after Sara was found dead and alone at home in Woking on August 10.
The pair are in hiding and 10 close relatives have been taken into custody for questioning and an investigation, a police spokesman in Jehlum said.
He added that among those detained was Mohammad Sharif, the father of Urfan, his brothers and cousins.
Police in Pakistan often detain the close relatives of wanted suspects but they are not kept in jail to avoid the intervention of a court.
It comes after Sara's stepmother spoke out for the first time on Wednesday since the little girl was found dead.
Batool showed no emotion as she described Sara's death as "an incident", adding that she and Sharif were willing to co-operate with UK authorities over the case.
"Firstly, I would like to talk about Sara. Sara's death was an incident. Our family in Pakistan are severely affected by all that is going on," she said.
She continued: "All of our family members have gone into hiding as everyone is scared for their safety.
"The kids are unable to attend school as they're afraid to leave the house. No one is leaving the house.
"The groceries have run out and there is no food for the kids as the adults are unable to leave their homes out of fear for safety."
Batool ended the video saying: "Lastly, we are willing to cooperate with the UK authorities and fight our case in court."
A post-mortem examination found Sara had suffered "multiple and extensive injuries" over a "sustained and extended" period of time.
But an inquest held last month could not give her cause of death, instead saying it was likely to be "unnatural".
Sara's mother previously said she was so badly injured she could not recognise her in the mortuary.
"One of her cheeks was swollen and the other side was bruised," Olga Sharif said.
"Even now, when I close my eyes I can see what my baby looked like."