Lahore | Following the mysterious death of a 10-year-old girl in Surrey, the Pakistani police are intensively searching for her family, including her father who has fled the UK, authorities in Punjab province said.
The body of Sara Sharif, daughter of Olga Sharif and 31-year-old Malik Urfan Sharif, was found in a Woking council house in Woking, Surrey, on August 10. Sara Sharif's body was found alone at the house, a day after her family members flew to Pakistan. Surrey is a county in South East England.
Police teams in Pakistan's Jhelum city in Pakistan's Punjab province have carried out frequent raids at all the possible hideouts, including in Malik Urfan Sharif’s hometown, Dena in Jhelum; in Sara’s mother’s hometown and in Sialkot, where close relatives of the suspects live, Dawn newspaper reported.
However, police said the family remained elusive, with Sharif taking extra precautions to avoid detection. Officials said the suspected family might have gone underground somewhere in some other province.
Jhelum District Police Officer Nasir Mahmood Bajwa, however, hoped on Sunday that the prime suspect would be arrested within 24 hours.
British police said no other people were found at the property when the body was discovered.
Officers are working with the authorities in Pakistan to locate Sara’s father Urfan Sharif, his partner Beinash Batool and his brother Faisal Malik, who were believed to have travelled to Islamabad.
The discovery of the minor’s body prompted a murder investigation, with the police launching a hunt for the three suspects, including Sara’s father, in connection with the probe.
The London police were told that the suspects had spent thousands of pounds on one-way air tickets to escape to Pakistan. The Interpol alerted the Pakistani police authorities to help trace the suspects.
Rawalpindi Regional Police Officer Syed Khurram Ali Shah told Dawn the police teams were on hot pursuit of the suspects and trying hard to trace the possible hideouts of the suspected family.
He said the police obtained the video footage of the immigration counter of Islamabad airport and found Sharif, his wife and children arriving there on August 9.
Later, they left the airport premises but the footage of the CCTV cameras installed outside it was unclear as to what kind of transport they used to reach their destination.
A police source said the police picked up the maternal uncle and brother of the prime suspect for questioning but they were unsure about Sharif’s location and his other family members.
The police raided the house in Mirpur with the coordination of the local police and could not find the suspected family there, Shah said, adding that the police also raided homes of some close relatives of the prime suspect in Sialkot but to no avail.
The official source said the prime suspect seemed so clever that he neither used the local sim nor contacted his relatives by other means, as he might have been alerted that the police were vigorously pursuing him and his family in the wake of the alleged murder of his minor daughter.
Meanwhile, Urfan Sharif’s father has appealed to his son to come forward and speak to the police.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Muhammad Sharif, 68, urged his son to come forward. “We want them to present themselves,” he said. “We want to resolve the matter as the privacy of our house is affected due to frequent police raids.” He said his son had not informed him of Sara’s death when he briefly visited them in Jhelum after their arrival in Islamabad.
On Sunday, news reports said police in Pakistan were tracking a mobile phone SIM believed to be that of Urfan Sharif.