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From Mirpur to Birmingham: Pakistan plans bus route to UK

Published Sep 27, 2012 03:26pm


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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 (74) Closed

Oz Sep 27, 2012 07:27pm
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.
Khayali Sep 29, 2012 06:05am
They dont need this type of the bus, where the nation want to dispatch them
HADI SAKEY Sep 28, 2012 09:10pm
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.
Ali Sep 28, 2012 09:01am
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 Sep 28, 2012 01:54pm
The transport minister should do the nation a favor and take this bus route along with the whole Zardari government. Sep 27, 2012 09:13pm
The beautiful part comes after the worst part. So if you are still alive, you may certainly enjoy the beautiful part.
Gerry D'Cunha Sep 28, 2012 06:58pm
UKBA - I suppose you have noticed the new travel plans by pakistanis - be ready to recruit extra force to check illegal immigrants.
Adnan Khan Sep 27, 2012 08:34pm
Francis Sep 28, 2012 06:31pm
This is sheer nonsense. Never will work.What about food and drinks when travelling for 7 days? Thats not cheap when travelling in Europe.
v Sep 27, 2012 06:33pm
Ahsan Iqbal Sep 27, 2012 06:55pm
Abdul Sep 28, 2012 08:44am
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 Sep 27, 2012 08:49pm
Sounds like the "hippy trail" could soon be open again!.....Yeah man!
Ibrahim Sep 27, 2012 08:49pm
i think its 15 from Kashmir and I live in its a good Idea
Rana Naveed Sep 29, 2012 05:07am
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 Sep 28, 2012 07:25pm
NOT a good idea... too risky. First make the route safer.
Rattan(Sydney) Sep 28, 2012 08:04am
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 Sep 28, 2012 11:36am
easy targets for the talibans - wonder if sensible people will travel to risk their life
Karachi Wala Sep 28, 2012 11:45am
a Sep 27, 2012 04:39pm
really? however they will also pass through some beautiful landscape
jehanzeb Sep 27, 2012 04:42pm
sounds awesome where can i get more info as in which relevant department
Peter Brown Sep 27, 2012 04:46pm
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!
hammad Sep 27, 2012 04:49pm
haha i bet they will cross the sea throguh the water power bus made by our infamous agha water
insaan Sep 27, 2012 05:37pm
And the name of the bus will be "CIRCUS"?? if it ever reaches Birmingham??
manan Sep 27, 2012 06:02pm
i appreciated your work its great for kashmirian people.
Syed Sep 28, 2012 08:53pm
lol. very nice
Ash Sep 28, 2012 01:03pm
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 Sep 28, 2012 03:10pm
very good idea for visitors. it will also promote the culture Pakistan.
Toronto Sep 28, 2012 05:47pm
they can not run bus service in pakistan and talking big starting service from Pakistan to UK. Pakistanis are always dreaming................
G.A. Sep 28, 2012 12:09pm
There already is a bus journey. It's called PIA.
gunnudidi Sep 28, 2012 10:51am
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 Sep 28, 2012 09:53am
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 Sep 28, 2012 09:35am
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.
noni Sep 28, 2012 03:23pm
Sayyed Mehdi Sep 28, 2012 09:26am
No, this is not going backwards. Bus journeys longer than this happen all over the world, including the most developed countries.
Sayyed Mehdi Sep 28, 2012 09:27am
A 5000 mile journey by bus is not headless an idea as you think. Look at Sarah Jameel's comment below.
saeed Sep 28, 2012 09:22am
wouldn' be better if the officials make the transportation better and safer within the Pakistan first ?
Concerened Sep 28, 2012 11:39am
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 Sep 28, 2012 07:07am
Impossible in Practical Life in Pakistan, and the duration...8 days !!!! God forbids..
Caz Sep 28, 2012 10:40pm
Another scam for illegal immigration into Britain!
Indusonian Sep 28, 2012 10:49pm
Good idea, anything we can do to change the image of our country.
Manoj Sep 28, 2012 06:49am
What is the problem if you are worried about security board a air plane.
undefined Sep 27, 2012 10:41pm
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 ?
Iftikhar Sep 28, 2012 06:27am
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.
doscashaw Sep 28, 2012 06:25am
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
Rao Sep 28, 2012 06:03am
It will be a bus with berths ....for lying down.....But who got this crazy idea....
Kennedy Sep 28, 2012 11:26pm
Wow...I thought these sort of "NEWS" items appear only on April 1st.....
fareed murtaza Sep 28, 2012 05:29am
a good initiative - hope if it works.
msultan Sep 29, 2012 12:01am
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 Sep 29, 2012 12:21am
I think you better mind you own business! It
Prof. Ansari Sep 29, 2012 12:23am
Its the same as an Indian official!
Prof. Ansari Sep 29, 2012 12:26am
I think its the same case in india! "the caste system in India spreads across all ministries and education colleges!
Prof. Ansari Sep 29, 2012 12:28am
a fool is considered wise until he keeps silent!
zehra.abidi Sep 29, 2012 12:32am
Well said ,
Waqas Ahmed Sep 28, 2012 03:56am
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.
hero Sep 28, 2012 03:53am
how many days? months? years will it take?
Azhar Sep 29, 2012 02:21am
ha ha.....great idea!
Azhar Sep 29, 2012 02:24am
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.
Azhar Sep 29, 2012 02:25am
great idea!
amish Sep 28, 2012 03:15am
8 days in a bus, first try to sit 8 hours in a airplane
Ashvinn Sep 28, 2012 02:55am
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
saira Sep 28, 2012 02:29am
Good Job, Pakistan Keep it up.
Sarah Jameel Sep 28, 2012 02:29am
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.
raza Sep 28, 2012 05:14pm
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 .
Rao Sep 28, 2012 07:58am
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 Sep 28, 2012 01:12am
Who will arrange for visas for the various countries enroute?
mumbo jumbo Sep 28, 2012 12:51am
Is Pakistan going backward when every body else orders A380 jumbo jets?
ajk Sep 28, 2012 01:24pm
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 Sep 28, 2012 12:30am
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.
suneel Sep 28, 2012 01:15pm stole my words
ummer Sep 29, 2012 03:30am
I think pakistan should look towards its depleting economy n then think about this bus service
Rao Sep 28, 2012 05:30pm
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 Sep 28, 2012 03:04pm
soomro Sep 29, 2012 03:46am
i think it is a good forward step towards growth of country