Sara Sharif’s father and stepmother were ‘urged to flee Britain’ after her death by UK solicitor as they would be ‘mistreated for being Muslims’, their family’s Pakistani lawyer claims
- Urfan Sharif and his wife Beinash Batool fled to Islamabad on August 9
- Sara’s body was found in the family home in Woking the day after they left
The runaway father and stepmother of Sara Sharif were urged by a British solicitor to flee the country after the schoolgirl’s death, the family’s Pakistani lawyer told The Mail on Sunday last night.
Urfan Sharif, 41, his wife Beinash Batool, 29, and his brother, Faisal Malik, 28, fled to Islamabad with the couple’s five children, aged between one and 13, in a ‘terrified’ state on August 9, the lawyer said.
The day after the family left the country, police found ten-year-old Sara’s body at the family’s home in Woking, Surrey, after being alerted by Sharif from Pakistan.
The discovery sparked an international manhunt. Police in Pakistan arrested ten members of Sharif’s extended family in their home town of Jhelum in Punjab, including Urfan Sharif’s father, brothers and cousins.
The fugitive couple released a short video last week where Batool described Sara’s death as an ‘incident’ and said the pair were willing to co-operate with British police.
Ten-year-old Sara Sharif’s body was found in their family house in Woking, Surrey, with a post-mortem examination concluding she had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’
Sara’s father (left) and his partner Beinash Batool (right) were advised by a British lawyer to leave the country, saying they would be mistreated because of their faith
Faisal Malik, the brother of Urfan Sharif is wanted over the murder of the ten-year-old girl
Last night Malik Asif Taufique, the Sharif family lawyer in Pakistan, told the MoS that after Sara died, the couple spoke to a British lawyer friend in a panic. The friend, who has not been identified, apparently ‘terrified’ the couple.
‘Urfan and Beinash ran from the UK because a British lawyer there made them terrified, saying they would have a harsh punishment in the UK and they would lose custody of their children,’ said Mr Taufique. ‘They would be mistreated for being Muslims and a big scandal will be made against their faith.’
Mr Taufique has been acting on behalf of Sharif’s brothers and 75-year-old father Muhammad. He also claimed that Sharif and Batool have been in regular contact with British police since fleeing.
A close family friend revealed that when Sharif and Batool arrived in Pakistan they told relatives Sara died in an accident.
‘Urfan swore that Sara slipped from the stairs and died,’ the friend said.
A close family friend revealed that Sharif and Batool told relatives in Pakistan that Sara had died by slipping on stairs
‘He discussed this matter with a British lawyer and he advised him to run away, otherwise he will lose his other children and the authorities will hand them over to other people who may be of the Jewish faith or any other religion.’
Surrey Police are treating the death as murder. A spokesman said: ‘We are continuing to work with international agencies to progress our enquiries with the Pakistani authorities. The welfare of the five children is a priority for us.’
Additional reporting by Khurram Shahzad in Jhelum.