Five of Sara Sharif’s siblings to be taken into care, Pakistan court rules

Sara Sharif was found dead in a home in Woking on August 10. Credit: Surrey Police

A court in Pakistan has ruled that Sara Sharif's five siblings should be taken into child protection services until their long-term custody is decided after they were recovered in a house in Jhelum, Northern Pakistan.

Aged between one and 13, the children fled the UK with their father Urfan Sharif the day before 10-year-old Sara was found dead at the family home in Woking, Surrey on August 10.

The children were found hiding at their grandfather's house after dozens of police raided the property on Monday.

Police in Pakistan told ITV News they do not believe the children had been there since arriving in the country a month ago, as officers had searched the house before and did not find them.

Ghulam Abbas, Detective Superintendent of Jhelum police, said the children were presented before a judge in Pakistan on Tuesday for the provision for safe custody.

He said: "The children are (now) being shifted to the Child Protection Centre... I cannot tell for how long they will stay there... the police will also accompany them."

Sara Sharif's father described the 10-year-old's death as an "incident".

A post-mortem examination found Sara had suffered "multiple and extensive injuries" over a “sustained and extended” period of time.

Her death left the local community in shock as an international manhunt ensued for her father and siblings, who fled to Pakistan.

In response to Tuesday's announcements leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver, said: "Our overriding priority is the welfare of the children at the heart of this case. 

"We continue to work round the clock with all relevant agencies including the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Surrey Police, Interpol and the National Crime Agency, through the legal processes underway, to best ensure the immediate and longer-term safety and wellbeing of the children."

Sara's father, 41-year-old Urfan Sharif and his wife, 29-year-old Beinash Batool, as well as the child's uncle, remain in hiding.

Sharif and Batool released a video in which they describe the 10-year-old's death as an "incident".

Ten close relatives in Pakistan have been taken into custody for questioning and an investigation.

Among those detained include Muhammad Sharif, the grandfather of Sara and the owner of the house where the five children were detained.

Police in Pakistan often detain the close relatives of wanted suspects, however, they are not kept in jail to avoid the intervention of a court.

Speaking to ITV News from Pakistan last week, Muhammad Sharif said that while he believed his son and daughter-in-law should hand themselves in, they fled "out of police fear".

Detective Superintendent Mark Chapman, from the Surrey Police and Sussex Police Major Crime Team, said: "The safety and welfare of these five children has always been a priority for us.

He continued: "Our enquiries remain ongoing to locate Urfan Sharif, Beinash Batool and Faisal Malik, who we would like to speak to as part of our enquiries into Sara’s death.

"We are continuing to liaise with our international partners, including Interpol, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the National Crime Agency, to determine the next steps."

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