Radio Sandwell News

Abducted 6-yr-old girl back in UK from Pakistan

2012-12-28 22:28:44

Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson

A six-year-old girl who was abducted by her father and taken to Pakistan three years ago has arrived back in the UK.

Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson was last seen when she was taken from her home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, on her third birthday in 2009.

She is being reunited with her mother Gemma Wilkinson at Manchester Airport.

Her father Razwan Ali Anjum is serving a prison sentence for refusing to reveal his daughter's whereabouts, despite a court order.

'Fit and healthy'

North West MEP Sajjad Karim, who raised her abduction with the foreign minister of Pakistan in the European Parliament, said the authorities in Pakistan had been "absolutely crucial" in finding Atiya and making sure was returned home.

Mr Karim said: "The authorities located Atiya, they monitored the address where she was and eventually moved in and informed the people she was living with - who are the extended family of the father - that she would have to return to the UK.

"There wasn't any resistance by them. Atiya was found to be in a fit and healthy state and was well at the time. She was certainly being kept well."

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool said Atiya was found in the village of Daska, near Sialkot in eastern Pakistan.

Atiya's mother was informed she had been found on Christmas Day and photographs were sent to her of Atiya by Pakistan authorities.

Ms Wilkinson, 32, of Ashton-under-Lyne, who split with Anjum in 2008, has made several appeals for information to find her daughter.

In her latest appeal last month, she described not knowing if Atiya was even alive was an "absolute nightmare".

Ms Wilkinson took legal action against her former partner in an attempt to force him to reveal her whereabouts.

Courts have been told Anjum said he was taking Atiya to Southport, but instead he took her to Lahore, Pakistan, and told Ms Wilkinson that she would never see her again.

In April, Atiya's father was handed a 12 month jail term by a High Court judge after he refused to reveal where his daughter was.

Mr Justice Moor imposed the sentence after he found him in contempt of a High Court order instructing him to disclose Atiya's whereabouts.

Anjum had indicated that Atiya was in Pakistan or Iran but said he did not know her exact whereabouts.

The judge said: "It is absolutely absurd for him to suggest that he does not know the whereabouts of his daughter and he cannot contact her.

"I am certain he is lying."

The sentence was the fourth consecutive jail term to be imposed. Judges have previously imposed jail terms of two years, 12 months and 12 months in the hope that Anjum would provide information so that Atiya could be reunited with her mother.

Police published a computer-generated image of what Atiya might look like now a day before her sixth birthday in November.


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