Relatives of Sara Sharif’s father cannot be detained in Pakistan by police for questioning, a court has ruled, despite an international manhunt for him entering its second week after the girl’s death in Woking.
Sara, 10, was found dead in her home on Hammond Road on August 10 and officers are still on the hunt for her father, Urfan Sharif, 41, who fled to Pakistan with his partner and brother before his daughter’s body was found.
Two men related to Mr Sharif have been questioned by police in Pakistan for several days but had not been arrested, Jhelum Police officers said at the Lahore high court, Rawalpindi bench, according to the BBC.
The court made a decision that Mr Sharif’s relatives cannot be detained by police for questioning about his whereabouts again, the BBC reports.
Both relatives have been released but officers reportedly said they would continue to question them.
Mr Sharif’s father and one brother told the BBC outside court they believe he came to the city of Jhelum, where the family is from, but then left. They claimed they did not know where he was hiding.
While Pakistan and the UK do not have a formal extradition treaty, Surrey Police officers are working with authorities in Pakistan to locate Mr Sharif, his partner Beinash Batool, 29, and his brother Faisal Malik, 28, as part of a murder probe.
The force made a fresh appeal for information on Thursday, two weeks after Sara’s body was found, to “piece together a picture of Sara’s lifestyle prior to her death”.
Detectives have widened the timescale of the murder investigation after a post-mortem revealed that Sara had suffered extensive injuries, likely to have been caused over an extended period of time.
The initial appeal, which was launched on August 18, has prompted a number of responses and detectives are reviewing them.
They are keen to speak to anyone who knew Sara, or who has any information that could assist the investigation, “no matter how insignificant it might seem”.
Detective Superintendent Mark Chapman, from the Surrey Police and Sussex Police Major Crime Team, said: “It is now two weeks since Sara’s body was found and the impact of her tragic death continues to be felt deeply by the local and wider community, including our officers and staff.
“We would like to thank those people who have already come forward and reported information to us.
“However, we know that there will be lots of people in the Woking community and beyond who will have had contact with Sara who may not already have come forward, and we would encourage them to do so.
“Any information is better than no information - although you might think it’s insignificant, it might be vital to the investigation and in helping us to bring justice for Sara.”
Sara was seen at school with “cuts and bruises” just months before she was found dead, a neighbour who identified only as Jessica told the BBC.
“Just before the Easter holidays she was in school and had cuts and bruises on her face and her neck,” she said.
“My daughter had asked what had happened and she said she’d fallen off a bike and then kind of walked away.
“The next day the teacher announced she had left school and she was being homeschooled.”
Sara was known to authorities prior to her death, police also confirmed, without giving more details.
Alternatively, information can be reported by calling 101, quoting Operation Unison. To report information anonymously, you can call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.