Missing Atiya: Mother's Plea for Information

The mother of a missing girl abducted by her father says she prays her "little bundle of joy" is safe and well, after being taken to Pakistan without her knowledge.

Gemma Wilkinson, 32, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, said not knowing whether five-year-old Atiya is even alive is an "absolute nightmare".

Atiya vanished in November 2009 after going to stay with her father, Razwan Ali Anjum.

The former insurance salesman said he was taking the girl to Southport. Instead he took her to Lahore, Pakistan, and told Ms Wilkinson she was "never going to see Atiya again", courts have heard.

Anjum, who is in his late 20s, returned to the UK shortly after and was jailed by a High Court judge for refusing to reveal where his daughter was.

Judges have imposed jail terms of two years, 12 months and another 12 months in the hope that he would provide information. They have re-jailed him as each sentence neared its end.

Speaking ahead of Atiya's sixth birthday on Wednesday, Ms Wilkinson said: "It's been an absolute nightmare. As to her whereabouts we know nothing. We've had no contact.

"I'm worrying every day, every single day. Everything is affected by it. When I close my eyes I see her.

"I say goodnight to her every night before bed. I pray she's okay. We don't have any proof that she's okay, there is no proof she is still alive.

"It's been discussed that she could have been sold, but I don't want to believe it.

"She was so funny. She was a little bundle of joy. She loved her lip gloss and handbags - as soon as she got hold of my makeup bag, everything in it was hers. We just want her home."

Ms Wilkinson's "on-off" relationship with Anjum ended in 2008.

"He's enjoying playing his controlling mind games. It's just sick. Razwan is refusing to say where she is, who she's with and he won't say anything other than 'she's in Iran'," he said.

Detective Constable Emma Constantine, of Greater Manchester Police's Child Protection Unit, said: "As far as we know, Razwan has had no contact with Atiya himself.

"He's never received any letters or photographs of Atiya, so there's no way that he knows how she is."

Detective Superintendent Phil Owen added: "We're working with a range of international agencies in order to find out who may be harbouring her, but it presents its challenges and problems and hopefully this is now the time to tug at heart-strings and generate information from the public."

He argued Anjum "will convince himself that she's looked after" but that he couldn't know that.

:: Anyone with information should phone police on 101, the Foreign Commonwealth Office on 020 7008 0878 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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