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Father, stepmother release video after vanishing following daughter's death



The father and stepmother of 10-year-old Sara Sharif have released their first public comments since she was found dead with serious injuries in the UK.

Sara Sharifwas found on August 10 at her Surrey home in the UK.

Police believe her father, Urfan Sharif, and stepmother, Beinash Batool, travelled to Pakistan the next day.

The pair released a video this morning saying they are willing to cooperate with UK authorities after allegedly going into hiding for weeks.

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Police are also trying to locate Sara's brother Faisal Malik.

Authorities want to speak to all three in relation to the murder investigation.

In video footage obtained by the BBC, Batool read from a notebook while Sharif sat quietly beside her.

She referred to Sara's death in two sentences, calling it an "incident", according to the BBC.

Sharif and Batool spend the rest of the 2-minute and 36-second long clip claiming that the Pakistan police are harassing the couple's extended family, also saying they had been illegally detained.

They also stated that they went into hiding out of fear that the Pakistan police would torture and kill them. 

Jhelum police chief Mehmood Bajwa said the claims of harassment and torture were false, but confirmed that police had conducted raids and detained some family members for questioning – however, they had not arrested anyone.

The BBC was unable to verify the conditions in which the video was filmed or the location.

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Surrey Police said the video was "clearly significant" in a statement to the BBC.

They also said they have been working with Interpol, the Foreign Office and the National Crime Agency to plan the next steps in the investigation.

"As you will appreciate, progressing these enquiries through the appropriate channels has to be handled carefully and sensitively," the force told BBC.

"Any cooperation from the people we want to speak to will assist the enquiry."

Post-mortem tests found that Sara sustained "multiple and extensive injuries."

Her mother, Olga Sharif, said she hardly recognised her daughter due to the severity of her injuries while speaking on a Polish television program Uwaga!.

Police previously said that Sharif made a 999 call from Pakistan, leading authorities to Sara's body after he landed in Islamabad. 

An inquest into the incident found that her death was of unnatural causes, but had not determined the exact cause.

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