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

A six-year-old girl who was abducted and taken to Pakistan more than three years ago by her father is on her way back to the UK.

Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson disappeared in November 2009 after going to visit her father, Razwan Ali Anjum.

She was last seen by her mother, Gemma Wilkinson, 32, on her third birthday when Anjum collected her from her home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.

The former insurance salesman, whose on-off relationship with Wilkinson ended in 2008, had claimed that he was taking Atiya to Southport.

Instead, he took the toddler to Lahore, Pakistan, and told her mother that she was "never going to see Atiya again".

Anjum is currently serving a prison sentence in the UK for refusing to reveal his daughter's whereabouts despite a court order.

According to BBC's correspondent in Islamabad, Aleem Maqbool, the little girl has been located in Pakistan and is due to arrive at Manchester airport later today (Friday).

Absolute nightmare

In November, Wilkinson, who has made has made several appeals for information about her daughter's whereabouts since 2009, launched a fresh appeal. She told the press that it was an "absolute nightmare" not knowing if Atiya were alive or dead.

Speaking ahead of Atiya's sixth birthday, Wilkinson, a former charity worker, 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. We just want her home."

In early 2012, Wilkinson took legal action against her former partner in a desperate bid to force him to disclose information about Atiya's location.

Anjum was given a fourth consecutive jail term by a high court judge in April after he refused to reveal his daughter's whereabouts. He claimed that she was in Pakistan or Iran but insisted that he did not know exactly where.

The presiding judge, Mr Justice Moor, enforced a 12-month prison sentence after he found Anjum in contempt of a high court order.

The judge said: "I am certain that he is in contempt. It is absolutely absurd for him to suggest that he does not know the whereabouts of his daughter and he cannot contact her.

"I am certain he is lying."

It is believed that Atiya was finally located after police released a computer-generated image of how she might look now.