LONDON: The father of Sara Sharif, a 10-year-old found dead at her home in the English town of Woking in Surrey on Aug. 10, claims his daughter’s death was an accident, according to the girl’s grandfather.
Post-mortem tests reportedly revealed that Sara had sustained “multiple and extensive injuries.” The cause of death has yet to be determined but investigators have been told it is “likely to be unnatural,” according to Sky News.
Police in the UK want to speak to Sara’s father, Urfan Sharif, his partner, Beinash Batool, and his brother, Faisal Shahzad Malik. It is believed that they traveled to Pakistan with their five children the day before Sara’s body was discovered.
Pakistani police have been searching for them for several weeks but have yet to locate them. Officers believe the family arrived at Islamabad International Airport early on Aug. 10, traveled to Jhelum, where they stayed for a few days, then spent a few hours in the village of Domeli before leaving there on Aug. 13.
Sara’s grandfather, Mohammed Sharif, said he saw his son while Urfan was in Jhelum, the city in which he was raised.
“It was an accident,” the 68-year-old told the BBC, referring to Sara’s death. “He didn’t tell me how it happened.”
Asked why his son had traveled to Pakistan if his daughter’s death was an accident, he replied: “Because of fear. His daughter died and when you go under so much trauma, obviously you can’t think properly.”
When pressed on his son’s decision to fly to Pakistan, he added: “All I can say is that they should have faced the case. They should have stayed there and faced it instead (of coming to Pakistan). They will ultimately go back to the UK and face their case.
“I have a deep sorrow that my granddaughter passed. The grief will stay with me for the rest of my life. Everything about her was so beautiful. You cannot single out one thing; she was a very lovely granddaughter.”
Speaking during a TV interview, Mohammed had a message for his son and those who fled from the UK with him: “Wherever they are, they will be able to listen to this. I say they should come out, defend their case, whatever it is. They should answer the questions. I don’t say they should stay in hiding.”
He denied having any other, more recent contact with his son.
Last month, authorities in Jhelum told Sky News that Imran Sharif, Sara’s uncle, had been held in custody. He allegedly told officers: “Beinash was home with the children. Sara fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Beinash panicked and phoned Urfan.”
Members of the Sharif family in Jhelum have taken police to court twice for alleged unlawful detention of several of Urfan’s brothers and brothers-in-law. After the first time it happened, police said they would not arrest them again.
“We have had so many problems the last three weeks,” Mohammed told the BBC. “Some of my sons are on the run, others are with the police. No one is making contact with us because of fear of the police.”