Sara Sharif’s runaway father and stepmother are on a flight back to Britain today after surrendering to police who want to question them over the 10-year-old’s death.
Sara’s father, Urfan Sharif, 41, and his partner Beinash Batool, 29, have been in hiding for a month after fleeing to Islamabad on August 9 with five children aged between one and 12 years old, leaving the body of their eldest daughter behind.
The body of the schoolgirl, who suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries’ over a ‘sustained and extended’ period of time, was found a day later at the family’s home in Woking, Surrey after Mr Sharif alerted police from an unknown location in Pakistan where he had gone into hiding.
Now in a dramatic development, the couple have agreed to fly back to Britain to face questioning.
This morning they boarded a flight from Pakistan travelling via Dubai before they are due to arrive at Gatwick at 7.45pm tonight.
Their family lawyer Raja Haq Nawaz told MailOnline that the trio boarded an Emirates flight from Sialkot and that they voluntarily left for the UK after police failed to arrest them.
A spokesman for Jhelum Police, Mudassar Khan also confirmed that the trio had left for the UK. He, however, did not give more details.
Sara Sharif (pictured) was found dead and alone in her family’s home near Woking, Surrey, on August 10
Sara’s father (left) and his partner Beinash Batool (right) released a video last week addressing the death and confirming they are in hiding
Urfan Sharif and his partner Beinash Batool are both on their way back to the UK
Tributes outside the home of Sara Sharif, where the little girl’s body was found on August 10
It comes just days after police in Pakistan took custody of their five other children following a raid on a relative’s home in the north-eastern city of Jhelum.
Surrey Police officers are scheduled to meet the flight in Gatwick where the couple may be taken into custody for questioning.
This week the Mail revealed how the family had launched a desperate legal bid to prevent them being extradited back to the UK, complaining that their freedom of movement and travel have been infringed by the police investigation into Sara’s death.
In a petition to Lahore High Court littered with mistakes including Sara’s age, the family complained that ‘they are required for the murder of Sara’s (sic), daughter aged about 12/13 year in the United Kingdom.’
The legal papers lodged on behalf of Muhammad Sharif stated that the missing couple and their extended relatives have been ‘victimised’ by the police hunt, denied their fundamental right to travel and complain they have been ‘deprived’ of personal liberties.
It was argued that Pakistani police has no basis to detain the couple as they haven’t committed any offences in Pakistan and there is no extradition treaty with Britain.
The family’s lawyer Malik Asif Taufeeq Awan demanded the court intervene to ‘protect and to save the entire family member including Urfan Sharif as well as her (sic) wife Benish Batool from the illegal iron hands of respondent authorities.’
The case had been due to be heard next week but the couple decided to hand themselves in today.
Faisal Malik, the brother of Urfan Sharif is wanted over the murder of the ten-year-old girl
An autopsy of the girl did not establish a cause of death but showed that she had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries, which are likely to have been caused over a sustained and extended period of time’
It comes after it emerged yesterday that Sara’s five siblings will be placed into child protection after they were found by police in Pakistan.
Local police found the children at Sara’s grandfather’s house as they continued to search for the little girl’s father and stepmother.
An autopsy of the girl did not establish a cause of death but showed that she had suffered ‘multiple and extensive injuries, which are likely to have been caused over a sustained and extended period of time,’ British police said in a statement.
The five children were recovered by police Monday evening from Muhammad Urfan’s home in Jhelum, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Lahore in central Pakistan.
The children, ranging in age from 1 to 13, were found after Interpol issued yellow notices for them, which are used to help locate missing persons, often minors.
Police officer Nasir Mahmood Bajwa said the children have been in safe custody since their recovery.
They were bought before the court on Tuesday under high security. The court ordered the children to be shifted to the custody of the Child Protection Bureau in Rawalpindi city, close to Islamabad.
Last Wednesday, Sara’s stepmother spoke publicly for the first time since the little girl was found dead.
In a clip of the footage posted online, Batool shows no emotion as she describes Sara’s death as ‘an incident’ and says that she and Sharif are willing to co-operate with UK authorities over the case.
Sara’s father remained silent throughout the clip, and Batool only spent a few seconds speaking about Sara before spending most of the video complaining of how her family were scared to go outside.
Meanwhile, Sara’s mother Olga Sharif gave an interview to the Polish television programme Uwaga! in which she spoke of the harrowing experience of going to view her daughter’s body.
The five children were recovered by police Monday evening from Muhammad Urfan’s home in Jhelum, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Lahore in central Pakistan
The children, ranging in age from 1 to 13, were found after Interpol issued yellow notices for them, which are used to help locate missing persons, often minors
Olga Sharif with a picture of her daughter Sara who was found dead at her home in Woking, Surrey
She said: ‘One of her cheeks was swollen and the other side was bruised.
‘Even now, when I close my eyes I can see what my baby looked like.’
Ms Sharif separated from her husband in 2015 and Sara and her older brother had been living with her until 2019, when the family court ruled they should live with their father.
Ms Sharif still had equal rights to see the children and said while that was easy to maintain initially, it became increasingly harder over time.
The eldest child taken to Pakistan with the family is Ms Sharif’s son.
Sara’s grandfather, who has since been detained, has told the BBC the girl’s death was an ‘accident’ and three family members who left the UK for Pakistan will ‘ultimately’ return to face police questioning.
But he also said his son should ‘cooperate with the police and face the law’.
Muhammad Sharif said he saw Sara’s father soon after he arrived in the city of Jhelum, in the South Asian country, and said his son had fled the UK out of ‘fear’.
In a video, Sara Sharif’s grandfather is shown saying: ‘Yes, they (Urfan Sharif and his wife Beinash Batool) should cooperate with the police and face the law, the law is everything and life without law is difficult.
‘My advice to them, is to face the law, they should present themselves to the police and tell them the truth about what occurred.’
‘If they release a video message, it would be good. And if they have more details they need to share (them) with the police. Sharing the truth is their fundamental right, it is not possible to hide things. The more they details they share, the better for them.’
Sara’s uncle said last month that his niece had fallen down the stairs and broken her neck.