independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

'Review needed' over kidnap cases

Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson was abducted by her father in November 2009 (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

The politician who helped reunite a mother with her six-year-old girl who was kidnapped by her father three years ago says there is a "fundamental need" to review how similar cases are dealt with in the future.

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 on Saturday night, mother and daughter finally came face-to-face after the youngster was tracked down and flown to Manchester Airport.

After an emotional reunion, Ms Wilkinson said she was "overwhelmed" and could not explain what it was like to see her daughter's face again and see "what she is actually like".

MEP Sajjad Karim helped in the search after learning of the situation around a month ago.

Mr Karim said he used his contacts with the Pakistani authorities to help secure Atiya's return, saying they gave their "absolute determination" to the case and used intelligence from local contacts to find Atiya within a matter of weeks.

But Mr Karim spoke of a need to think outside strict legal structures when dealing with similar cases in the future.

He told BBC News: "Personally, on the one hand I'm absolutely delighted. On the other hand there's frustration because honestly there's nothing I have done over the last four to five weeks that I couldn't have done three years ago.

"There is a fundamental need to review the protocols that we have in place in situations of this sort. "We need to be thinking outside of strictly legal structures, we need to explore all the avenues available to us right at the outset to make sure this sort of situation doesn't happen again."

Press Association

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