Sara Sharif’s father and stepmother, who are wanted by the UK authorities over her sudden death, claim they are willing to assist in the investigation, in what appears to be the first time they have spoken out since the child died.
Sara, 10, was found dead at her home in Woking, Surrey, on August 10. Surrey Police are looking to speak to her father, Urfan Sharif, his partner Beinash Batool and brother Faisal Malik in relation to a murder investigation.
They are known to have travelled to Pakistan from the UK on August 9 and police have been unable to locate them, despite Sara’s grandfather making a public appeal for his son to surrender himself to the police.
In the low-quality footage sent to the BBC, Ms Batool reads a short statement from what appears to be a notebook while Mr Sharif looks on without speaking a word. She described Sara’s death as an “incident” and that they’re willing to cooperate with the UK authorities in their investigation.
It is still unknown where and when the video was taken.
She said: “Sara’s death was an incident. Our family in Pakistan are severely affected by all that’s going on. They’re harassing my extended family. They have also illegally raided many more of my family members’ homes.”
She also said that the family has approached a lawyer, who will represent them in court. She continued: “My main concern is that the Pakistani police will torture or kill us which is why we have gone into hiding. Lastly, we are willing to cooperate with the UK authorities and fight our case in court.”
In response, Jhelum police chief Mehmood Bajwa told the BBC the allegations of harassment and torture of family members are false. He said if the family had any fears from the police they could go to court to seek protection.
Soon after Sara’s body was discovered on August 10, detectives launched an international search to locate her family members, including her dad. Her father, his partner and his brother, had travelled to Pakistan the previous day.
Sara had been living at the Surrey property with her father, her father’s partner, her uncle and five brothers and sisters.
In an interview with a Polish television channel, Sara’s mum, Olga Sharif said she had separated from Urfan in 2015. Sara reportedly had lived with their mother and her older brother, but in 2019, the family court said they should live with their father, although she had equal rights.
Police said Mr Sharif, 41, made a 999 call from Pakistan, leading them to find Sara’s body, shortly after landing in Islamabad.
Pakistan police say they did not receive a request via Interpol to initiate a search for the three until August 15. Surrey police have not said when they asked Interpol for the search to start.
Pakistan police believe the trio landed in Islamabad international airport early on August 10.
The BBC has stated it was sent the video but has been unable to verify their account or the conditions under which the video was filmed or the location.