Sajjad appeals for help in finding missing girl

A North-West MEP is urging the Pakistani authorities to locate a six year-old Manchester girl who was illegally taken to Pakistan three years ago. Both her parents are in the UK.

Atiya Wilkinson vanished in November 2009 after going to stay with her father Razwan Ali Anjum. He took her to Lahore, Pakistan, and then returned to the UK without her. He is currently in prison for refusing to tell the British courts where his daughter is.

Sajjad Karim MEP used the visit of Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and senior diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani to the European Parliament to raise the issue.

Sajjad, who has been working with Atiya’s mother Gemma and officers from the GMP, said, “We are talking about a mother whose young child has been taken away and hidden from her. I hope the Minister will empathise with her terrible situation. She has the authority and influence to ensure the Pakistani authorities actively pursue this case and ensure Atiya is returned to her mother.”

Sajjad said the private discussion with the minister was positive. In open session Minister Rabbani Khar responded by saying,  “We will be looking into this carefully and do whatever we can.”

Full report by Granada’s Elaine Willcoxfrom Granada Reports. and here

Gemma Wilkinson, 32, from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, has repeatedly appealed for information on her whereabouts. She says not knowing six-year-old Atiya is even alive is an “absolute nightmare”.

Detective Superintendent Phil Owen from the Public Protection Division said: “I welcome the discussions and believe it is a positive move that will help raise awareness of Atiya and the desperation of a mother to be reunited with her daughter.

“We are continuing to investigate her disappearance and officers continue to support the family during this painful process.

“We would appeal to members of the public, in particular living in the Rochdale area along with the wider community, for information on Atiya’s whereabouts.

“Atiya has had no contact with her mother and father, along with her immediate maternal and paternal family for the last three years and we are growing increasingly concerned for her safety and wellbeing.”

Sajjad added, “Sadly, Pakistan is not a signatory to the Hague Convention by which member-states agree to observe and respect the custody rulings of one another’s family courts.

“It means is it difficult or impossible for Atiya’s mum to get the legal help she needs to investigate and discover her daughter’s whereabouts. That is why I am appealing to the Pakistani state to show compassion in this case and use the powers at its disposal to help trace and return this little girl to the UK.

“I am confident that Pakistan wants to do the right thing, we need all authorities to work together on this case and prevent future abductions of EU nationals to Pakistan.”

Pic 1 : Atiya Wilkinson

Pic 2 : Sajjad appealing tn Pakistan’s Foreign Minister