In a recent ruling by a Pakistani judge, it was decreed that the siblings of Sara Sharif should be sent to a government childcare facility. These five siblings had journeyed from the UK with their father and were discovered at their grandfather’s residence in Jhelum, northeastern Pakistan.
Tragically, Sara was found deceased at her family home in Woking, Surrey, UK on 10th of August, a day following the departure of three adults including her father, from the UK. Post-mortem examinations revealed that Sara had sustained extensive, multitude of injuries.
Sara’s father, Urfan Sharif, his wife, Beinash Batool, and Urfan’s brother, Faisal Malik, left the UK in the company of the five children, their ages ranging between one and thirteen years. The Surrey Police have responded by expressing a desire to enquire these three adults regarding Sara’s demise and have reiterated their unyielding commitment to conduct a comprehensive investigation. However, the authorities in Pakistan have been unable to locate these individuals thus far.
Sara’s five siblings have been ordered to stay temporarily in a government-run childcare establishment in Pakistan as per Tuesday’s court verdict. The length of their stay or their eventual destination was not specified in the court’s decision. The siblings reached the courthouse in a police vehicle, their windows obscured. Close relatives carried the younger children in, surrounded by armed police and local media.
As the court proceedings ensued, the children waited off to the side, sitting on chairs, their legs swaying in the air. The eldest sibling, in an effort to comfort the youngest, paced around the courtroom with the latter in their arms. Refreshments, cartons of juice and biscuits, were brought in for the children by their family. Following the trial, all five children were escorted to a waiting police car before the official announcement of the verdict.
Muhammad Sharif, Sara’s grandfather and Urfan Sharif’s father, provided no commentary as he exited the court. Mr. Sharif had made a plea to the court for custody of the children. Earlier, the police had collected the children from Mr. Sharif’s residence, then returned them under the condition that he would bring them to court the next day. Mr. Sharif professed that, since their arrival on 10 August, the children had been staying at his residence. Furthermore, he claimed he had been repeatedly questioned about Urfan, Faisal and Beinash, but never once about the children.
Mr. Sharif has consistently rejected any suggestion that he has been maintaining contact with his son, or that he is aware of his whereabouts. Urfan Sharif’s sisters confirmed to reporters that the children were very disturbed when they were removed from their grandfather’s house. Farzana Malik voiced the emotional scene saying, “The children were crying, the police were dragging them away.”
Local residents described to the press how the police carried out a raid on the property just before 16:30 local time on Monday. The police secured the area, blocking traffic and preventing anyone from recording the incident on their phones. Mr. Sharif alleges that the police damaged CCTV cameras and gate entries during the raid.
The Surrey Police have emphasized that the safety and welfare of the five children have always been, and continue to be, their foremost priority. They are actively collaborating with appropriate authorities to determine the next course of action. Surrey County Council has shared the sentiment, expressing their principal concern is the children’s welfare. The council has been working relentlessly, even through the night, to provide needed information to the court in Pakistan.
Sara’s body was discovered after an emergency call was made by her father soon after his arrival in Islamabad from the UK. The Sharif family residence in Surrey was visited by BBC reporters more than a month after Sara’s unfortunate demise, a police presence was noted even then.