The father of a 10-year-old girl, whose death in the UK triggered an international search operation in Pakistan, is set to face trial for her murder in the coming year.
Sara Sharif’s lifeless body was discovered at the family residence near Woking, in southern England, on August 10, the day following her father Urfan Sharif’s departure to Islamabad.
Detectives received an early morning emergency call from Pakistan, where a man identifying himself as the father reported Sara’s death. The house was found empty, leading to a widespread manhunt that involved Interpol and the British foreign ministry cooperating with Pakistani authorities.
Urfan Sharif, a 41-year-old taxi driver, had traveled to Pakistan with his partner Beinash Batool, 29, his brother Faisal Malik, 28, and his five other children. All three adults have been charged with Sara’s murder, along with charges of causing or allowing the death of a child. They made their appearance via video link before a judge at London’s Old Bailey court on Tuesday.
The trio, remanded in custody following their arrest last week upon arrival from Dubai after spending a month in Pakistan, spoke only to confirm their identities and addresses during the hearing.
A post-mortem examination revealed that Sara had suffered “multiple and extensive injuries” over an extended period. The pre-trial hearing is scheduled for December 1, with the trial expected to commence on September 2, 2024, and last for six weeks.