Dec 28 2012
A six-year-old girl who was abducted by her father on her third birthday and taken to Pakistan has been reunited with her mother.
Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson vanished in November 2009 after going to stay with her father, Razwan Ali Anjum.
The former insurance salesman said he was taking Atiya to Southport. Instead he took her to Lahore, Pakistan, and told Gemma Wilkinson - Atiya's mother - that she was "never going to see Atiya again".
But on Friday night, during an emotional reunion, mother and daughter finally came face-to-face after the youngster was tracked down and flown to Manchester Airport.
Atiya was on a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Islamabad which touched down at Manchester Airport at around 7.15pm. Anjum is currently serving a prison sentence in the UK for refusing to reveal his daughter's whereabouts despite a court order.
It has emerged that Ms Wilkinson discovered her daughter had been found on Christmas Day, which finally brought an end to her desperate three-year plight to be reunited with her daughter.
MEP Sajjad Karim revealed he helped in the search after learning of the situation around a month ago. He said he used his contacts with the Pakistani authorities - who he said were "completely unaware" of the child's disappearance and possible presence in the country - and praised their response.
Mr Karim said: "Without them it would have been impossible. I also spoke to the Pakistan foreign minister when she came to the European Parliament."
The politician said they managed to find Atiya on Christmas Eve and got hold of up-to-date pictures of her which they were able to show to her mother in the UK on Christmas Day.
He said no money changed hands in getting her back, adding: "I'm delighted that she is now back in the UK. The one personal regret I have about the case is that I didn't know about it three-and-a-half years ago."