Birmingham has a large population of British Pakistanis, many of whose families originally hail from Mirpur. -File Photo

MUZAFFARABAD: Authorities in Pakistan are planning to launch a bus route from the Kashmir town of Mirpur to the British city of Birmingham, 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) away.

The mammoth journey will take travellers through some of the most dangerous areas of Pakistan on their way to Iran, Turkey and Europe before reaching the Midlands city after around eight days, officials said.

Tahir Khokher, the transport minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir told AFP fares would be around 20,000 rupees ($210), a fraction of air fares that are typically close to $1,000.

Birmingham has a large population of British Pakistanis, many of whose families originally hail from Mirpur, one of the largest cities in the Pakistan-administered part of the disputed Himalayan territory.

Khokher said he was confident of passengers' safety, even though they will pass through Pakistan's troubled southwest province of Baluchistan, which is plagued by Taliban militants, sectarian violence and a separatist insurgency.

“Officials in Baluchistan have assured me of providing foolproof security,”he said.

Officials have been working on the plans for three months and are in talks with a number of bus companies, Khokher said, but no date has been set for the service to start.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (74)

September 27, 2012 7:27 pm
Cant wait for this service. This will not only uplift the economy along all stretches of international routes, but will bring in a lot of trade and investment between UK, EU, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. I am pretty sure Baloch govt will be happy with revenue share - provided they can guarantee security. However, I feel the Military may also assist a lot with this. Cant wait for this service, I have always wanted to travel home by road. May Allah make this happen.
September 29, 2012 6:05 am
They dont need this type of the bus, where the nation want to dispatch them
September 28, 2012 9:10 pm
this bus service will not start at all.. Some time back we we were told a freight train will run between Pakistan and Turket. Then we were told that a Passenger train service will be introduced . All these announcements fizzled out ( Sheilh Chilli ka mansooba). Who wl;; allow so many Pakistanis to ceoss their borders with green Passport.
September 28, 2012 9:01 am
How about a fast train between Karachi and Tehran, from there you can catch a train to Istanbul! The train is a much safer option than a bus....
Syed J. Ahmed
September 28, 2012 1:54 pm
The transport minister should do the nation a favor and take this bus route along with the whole Zardari government.
September 27, 2012 9:13 pm
The beautiful part comes after the worst part. So if you are still alive, you may certainly enjoy the beautiful part.
Gerry D'Cunha
September 28, 2012 6:58 pm
UKBA - I suppose you have noticed the new travel plans by pakistanis - be ready to recruit extra force to check illegal immigrants.
Adnan Khan
September 27, 2012 8:34 pm
September 28, 2012 6:31 pm
This is sheer nonsense. Never will work.What about food and drinks when travelling for 7 days? Thats not cheap when travelling in Europe.
September 27, 2012 6:33 pm
Ahsan Iqbal
September 27, 2012 6:55 pm
September 28, 2012 8:44 am
Not a bad idea, it will be really great initiative on Pakistan's end but it comes comes to a question of practicality??? i do hope that this idea turns out in reality so that local people can save money even if they are sacrificing 8 days of life in travel....tiring??........on the positive end this 8 days travel could be a lot fun and entertaining when they can enjoy different countries in a single ticket...!
Rizwan Rana
September 27, 2012 8:49 pm
Sounds like the "hippy trail" could soon be open again!.....Yeah man!
September 27, 2012 8:49 pm
i think its 15 from Kashmir and I live in its a good Idea
Rana Naveed
September 29, 2012 5:07 am
except security issue, the journy will great .. But i feel no charm because of severe insecurity i personally don't prefer to go.......and in 130 Pound .... fool proof security can't be assure.. Further, Iran is in criticism at extent of threatning ... UK is also against his policies ... pakistan is not openly supporting him .... Further, roads are not enough maintinance .... in bird eye view .. it doesn't looks implementable.
HM, Canada
September 28, 2012 7:25 pm
NOT a good idea... too risky. First make the route safer.
September 28, 2012 8:04 am
Cannot give security protection to shias travelling within the country,couldnt make a bus run between the two kashmirs and now want to run a bus to UK.Drama thou name is Pakistan.Is this even a news?
Gerry D'Cunha
September 28, 2012 11:36 am
easy targets for the talibans - wonder if sensible people will travel to risk their life
Karachi Wala
September 28, 2012 11:45 am
“Officials in Baluchistan have assured me of providing foolproof security,”he said The "foolproof" coming out of the mouth of any Pakistan official, is nothing but scary.
September 27, 2012 4:39 pm
really? however they will also pass through some beautiful landscape
September 27, 2012 4:42 pm
sounds awesome where can i get more info as in which relevant department
Peter Brown
September 27, 2012 4:46 pm
I am not sure bringing in security of this bus will be mega issue? while in the country, this will be just another bus on the road inside Pakistan! Not sure if the fare of 2000 PKR will be viable for this bus service. Good luck to more links between Asia and Europe!
September 27, 2012 4:49 pm
haha i bet they will cross the sea throguh the water power bus made by our infamous agha water
September 27, 2012 5:37 pm
And the name of the bus will be "CIRCUS"?? if it ever reaches Birmingham??
September 27, 2012 6:02 pm
i appreciated your work its great for kashmirian people.
September 28, 2012 8:53 pm
lol. very nice
September 28, 2012 1:03 pm
Ha Ha Ha. You could be unconscious by the time you reach the beautiful scenery. A few stops at Motels would make it much more appealing.
Muhammad Younus Butt
September 28, 2012 3:10 pm
very good idea for visitors. it will also promote the culture Pakistan.
September 28, 2012 5:47 pm
they can not run bus service in pakistan and talking big starting service from Pakistan to UK. Pakistanis are always dreaming................
September 28, 2012 12:09 pm
There already is a bus journey. It's called PIA.
September 28, 2012 10:51 am
security is the biggest question,this wont be easy since people who are travelling from UK wouldnt trade a few dollars of savings for their own security and moreover 8 days of travel time and expenditures
hanif hunzai
September 28, 2012 9:53 am
Its really Good Step!!!!!!!!!!! but it should be handed over to a private firm, should not run by Govt. of pakistan.. coz most of people working in government always try there best to take personal benefits :-) .....
Ahmed j
September 28, 2012 9:35 am
Better and faster route exist from China as Pakistan has road links. From China it is train service to Moscow and then to Germany, Cologne via Trans Siberian Railways. From Cologne to Belgium by ICE high-speed train. Further it is Euro-star to London. Tour operators are already using this route all year round but the question is that this bus service is for the not so wealthy and want to save money. In UK press, same service is mentioned and it further says that the bus service will have night breaks at various services including camp-sites. It is good initiative and must be supported for success.
September 28, 2012 3:23 pm
Sayyed Mehdi
September 28, 2012 9:26 am
No, this is not going backwards. Bus journeys longer than this happen all over the world, including the most developed countries.
Sayyed Mehdi
September 28, 2012 9:27 am
A 5000 mile journey by bus is not headless an idea as you think. Look at Sarah Jameel's comment below.
September 28, 2012 9:22 am
wouldn' be better if the officials make the transportation better and safer within the Pakistan first ?
September 28, 2012 11:39 am
Rattan, I agree with you. Others' are comments are so childish..:) As if so many countries will let a bus from Pakistan pass thru their country..) Plus it needs years of planning and agreements with each country. Has Dawn run out of news items or they cannot disctinguish between a serious news and silly uttering? A transportation minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir? Seriously? not Zardari himself?..:)
Muhammad Yousuf Khuwaja
September 28, 2012 7:07 am
Impossible in Practical Life in Pakistan, and the duration...8 days !!!! God forbids..
September 28, 2012 10:40 pm
Another scam for illegal immigration into Britain!
September 28, 2012 10:49 pm
Good idea, anything we can do to change the image of our country.
September 28, 2012 6:49 am
What is the problem if you are worried about security board a air plane.
September 27, 2012 10:41 pm
never safe you"ll get robbed . to travell 8 days on the trot is alot of ache .the roads are rough to. should try running the bus service in pakistan properly before stepping out to long routes ?
September 28, 2012 6:27 am
Who in his right mind would think this is possible. Pakistanis living overseas are not visiting Pakistan by Air so you expect them to travel by bus to and from Pakistan. Can the honourable wonderful minister travel by road any where in pakistan without 50 armed guards. But in these times of depression and worries it is a good joke.
September 28, 2012 6:25 am
It is not a practical idea, firstly security in pak, iran and the transit visas. The time it will take. though would love to ride it if it ever happened
September 28, 2012 6:03 am
It will be a bus with berths ....for lying down.....But who got this crazy idea....
September 28, 2012 11:26 pm
Wow...I thought these sort of "NEWS" items appear only on April 1st.....
fareed murtaza
September 28, 2012 5:29 am
a good initiative - hope if it works.
September 29, 2012 12:01 am
It is a good idea except for the risks involved I hope minus the safety factor very cheap , but Pakistanis seems to be used to guns and bullets and can take all kind of risks to get out of current situation
Prof. Ansari
September 29, 2012 12:21 am
I think you better mind you own business! It’s not up to the British or European authorities to interfere in how we travel! India can never avail this service as this has to route through Pakistan!
Prof. Ansari
September 29, 2012 12:23 am
Its the same as an Indian official!
Prof. Ansari
September 29, 2012 12:26 am
I think its the same case in india! "the caste system in India spreads across all ministries and education colleges!
Prof. Ansari
September 29, 2012 12:28 am
a fool is considered wise until he keeps silent!
September 29, 2012 12:32 am
Well said ,
Waqas Ahmed
September 28, 2012 3:56 am
Initially I thought that would be wonderful, but it doesn't seems viable because route is a threat prone especially part of Baluchistan as Taliban holds key areas in this region. Other important factor that can jeopardize this plan is that Taliban are notorious for their kidnapping for ransom and this will prove to be a sitting duck and happy hunting grounds for them.
September 28, 2012 3:53 am
how many days? months? years will it take?
September 29, 2012 2:21 am
ha ha.....great idea!
September 29, 2012 2:24 am
They want to ground all planes as PIA service has been swallowed by the corrupt leaders of PPP and they came up with an idea of a bus route.
September 29, 2012 2:25 am
great idea!
September 28, 2012 3:15 am
8 days in a bus, first try to sit 8 hours in a airplane
September 28, 2012 2:55 am
Eight days and 20 thousand bucks , by the way where stay and sleep during the travel , what about food expenses, also transit visa for all the countries, wow it is one headless idea, maybe a super fast train but a bus is a big no no
September 28, 2012 2:29 am
Good Job, Pakistan Keep it up.
Sarah Jameel
September 28, 2012 2:29 am
That is not bad at all. I traveled inside the USA from the North East tip of the US, down the East coast to the Florida, cut horizontally to California and then go up the West Coast, all the way to Washington State. That journey is 5,200 miles, a road-trip that can be done in 5 days of two drivers switching per day. I have done it once. But I could not have imagined doing that from England to Pakistan.
September 28, 2012 5:14 pm
Why not a ship from Karachi? It would be much hassel free. If you travle in bus you need to get visas for all these countries? will they issue Visa to Paikistani citizens? Smaller shilps will better option. Even to Duabi, Soudi etc. One whip a week with lower prices can fetch big money. That service was availablle until 1980s .
September 28, 2012 7:58 am
Will UK allow these people, who cannot even afford to pay $ 1000 for the airfare, into the country...These people could be potential illegal immigrants....South Asia is well known gangs and syndicates who push illegal immigrants to western nations by any means
U. Saifi
September 28, 2012 1:12 am
Who will arrange for visas for the various countries enroute?
mumbo jumbo
September 28, 2012 12:51 am
Is Pakistan going backward when every body else orders A380 jumbo jets?
September 28, 2012 1:24 pm
This is non-sense. This route and bus service will fall immediate prey to human smugglers transporting entire populations of Mirpur and Sialkot to end up as homeless in big cities of Europe ! This type of bus service should never be allowed by the British or European authorities !!!
Imran Quraishi
September 28, 2012 12:30 am
very unrealistic and unhealthy for the travellers. Sitting for eight days continuously in a bus would be a life threatening experience for the elderly. If they are not killed by the dacoits then they would definitely die from blood clots that one can easily get by sitting for long periods at a time. I really hope that the travellers are made aware of this serious health issue otherwise a lot of people are going to be dead by the time the bus reaches London. I am dead serious about it and it is not a joke by any means. People should check with their doctors and they would tell them the same thing that I wrote.
September 28, 2012 1:15 pm stole my words
September 29, 2012 3:30 am
I think pakistan should look towards its depleting economy n then think about this bus service
September 28, 2012 5:30 pm
If the security concerns can be mitigated, then I would definitely catch the bus for 8 days of tourism through Iran, Turkey, East and West Europe. Imagine that for just about $200. I would though never come back through bus again, dont want to do another 8 days through same route. I agree with another commentator that if there is such thing as "fool proof" security then our Shia brothers need it first and then talk about giving it to tourists/travelers.
Sangat Singh
September 28, 2012 3:04 pm
September 29, 2012 3:46 am
i think it is a good forward step towards growth of country
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