Children back with Sara Sharif grandfather after police raid

Children back with Sara Sharif grandfather after police raid

Sep 12, 2023

London [UK], September 12: Five children who travelled from the UK to Pakistan with Sara Sharif's father have been returned to her grandfather hours after being taken by police.
Neighbours said dozens of officers raided the grandfather's house, where the children were staying, on Monday.
A court hearing to decide the custody of the children is set for Tuesday.
Ten-year-old Sara was found dead at her family home in Woking, Surrey, on 10 August - a day after her father and his partner fled the UK.
Post-mortem tests found Sara sustained "multiple and extensive injuries".
Sara's father Urfan Sharif and stepmother, Beinash Batool, left the UK with five children aged between one and 13.
Speaking earlier, Sara's grandfather Muhammad Sharif told the BBC the children had been staying at his home in the north-eastern city of Jhelum since their arrival on 10 August.
"Since they came from the UK, I didn't let them go," Mr Sharif told the BBC.
"I told Urfan and Beinash that they can go wherever they want to, but I will not let the children go with you. Until today, no one had asked me about the children.
"They kept asking me about Urfan, Faisal and Beinash, no one asked me about the children."
He later said: "If someone had asked about children I would have said they were safe with me. It is my right, no one could care about them more than me."
His son and his partner had not phoned him, he said, adding that maybe it was because "if the police found out they would have been hard on me".
The police later said the children were back with Muhammad Sharif. He has assured police he will appear in court but it is not yet clear whether the children will be required to appear.
Mr Sharif had previously repeatedly denied being in touch with his son or knowing where the family was.
The BBC also spoke to sisters of Urfan Sharif, who said the children were very upset when they were taken from Sara's grandfather's home.
"The children were crying, the police were dragging them away," Farzana Malik said.
"They were crying a lot and saying, 'we don't want to go, we don't want to go.'"
Eyewitnesses told the BBC that police officers raided the property just before 16:30 local time (12:30 BST). Officers stopped traffic and prevented anyone from filming on their phones, neighbours said.
Mr Sharif accused the police of breaking CCTV cameras and the gates of his home.
Police confirmed they had taken the children, but Sara's father, Urfan Sharif, stepmother, Beinash Batool, and uncle, Faisal Malik, were not with them. The police said the children did not resist leaving.
Surrey Police said in a statement: "Clearly this is significant, and we have been liaising with Surrey County Council and our international partners, including Interpol, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the National Crime Agency, to determine the next steps."
The force added that "the welfare of these five children continues to be a priority for us".
On Friday, Muhammad Sharif told the BBC that he had sent a message to his son, telling him to surrender to police.
Muhammad Sharif and his family have accused the police of harassing them, illegally detaining some family members and raiding their homes. He has also accused the police of creating fake cases against them to add further pressure.
The police have denied this.
In video footage last week, Sara's stepmother spoke publicly for the first time since the girl was found dead. Sara's father was also in the video, but did not speak, while Ms Batool read from a notebook.
Ms Batool described Sara's death as "an incident" and said she and Urfan Sharif were willing to co-operate with UK authorities.
She said that the reason the family are in hiding is because they fear that the Pakistani police will torture and kill them. The Jhelum police chief told the BBC the allegations of harassment and torture of family members are false.
Sara's body was found after her father made an emergency call from Pakistan, shortly after landing in Islamabad.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Cooperation