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Mother reunited with abducted girl
The mother of a six-year-old girl who was kidnapped by her father and taken to Pakistan three years ago said she was "overwhelmed" following their emotional reunion.
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 but instead took her to Lahore, Pakistan, and told Gemma Wilkinson - Atiya's mother - that she was "never going to see Atiya again". But mother and daughter finally came face-to-face once again on Friday evening after the youngster was tracked down and flown to Manchester Airport.
Speaking after the reunion, Ms Wilkinson said she could not explain what it was like to see her daughter's face again and see "what she is actually like". She said: "It was very emotional. She is how I expected. She looks exactly the same as she did three years ago, she is just taller and a bit older."
Describing the moment they met again, Ms Wilkinson said: "She had a big smile on her face. Atiya was told that I was mummy and she said 'Mummy' and smiled."
An emotional Ms Wilkinson broke down in tears during the 20-minute interview at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the airport shortly after being reunited with her daughter.
"I am just absolutely overwhelmed at seeing Atiya now and giving her a cuddle and a massive kiss," she said. "We have gone from not knowing where Atiya is to finding out that we do know where Atiya is, to receiving pictures of Atiya and how she looks now, to Atiya coming here and Atiya actually being here. It's just been an absolute whirlwind."
Ms Wilkinson said she did have a "few fears" that Atiya would be unsettled with the change and the flight but added: "She is absolutely fine. She is trying to communicate and she is playing with the things that we have bought for her. She's settled.
"She has a big smile, she's happy, she's talking. She will find things strange but she's home where she's loved and we'll just to take it day by day with the support we can get for Atiya."
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.