1. ITV Report

Exclusive: Atiya's mum 'dreaming' of her daughter's safe return

Gemma Wilkinson Photo: ITV News

The mother of a six-year-old girl who was abducted by her father and sent to Pakistan has told ITV News that "all of her Christmases have come at once" after she was found safe and well in Lahore.

"It is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for," Gemma Wilkinson exclusively told ITV News.

"It was so relieving to know that she is safe and well."

In November 2009 Atiya's father told Gemma that he was taking their then three-year-old daughter on a visit to Southport. But instead Razwan Ali Anjum boarded a plane to Lahore, Pakistan and left her there.

He is currently in prison after refusing to tell Gemma or the British police where his daughter was being kept, instead telling the High Court that Ms Wilkinson was "never going to see Atiya again".

"Its been an absolute nightmare not knowing, just imagining things and trying to think of, think of what's happened because nobody knew anything and nobody would say anything," Gemma said.

Atiya aged 3. Credit: Family photo

The charity Reunite International helped Gemma launch a media campaign in Pakistan to find her daughter. In 2011 their emergency helpline received more than 7,000 calls from parents whose children had been abducted. The organisation says that they are investigating 512 cases of child abduction from 2011.

Police released this computer-generated picture of how Atiya may look three years after being kidnapped Credit: GMP

Gemma was told that her daughter was safe on Christmas Day.

"I don't think I can describe it," she said.

"I was so happy and confused. Completely overjoyed. I'm just going to give her a massive hug, a hug that lasts as long as I haven't seen her for."

Atiya Credit: Family handout

Atiya will be reunited with her mother this evening in private.

It's not known if she is able to speak English having spent three years living in Pakistan.

"I think its going to be quite hard work to begin with when she comes back," Gemma said.

"We've got all the support that she needs to begin to adapt to life back at home."

Gemma told ITV News that she is very grateful to the media and to the people of Pakistan for locating Atiya safe and well.

"I keeping thinking I am still asleep dreaming, but I can't still be asleep dreaming so this must be real, she's coming home," she said.

"I think its going to take her quite along time to get through all of her presents. She's going to be very spoilt when she comes back."

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