8,000km bus route from Mirpur to Birmingham to be launched
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 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 said fares would be around 20,000 rupees (HK1,620) a fraction of air fares that are typically close to US$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 would pass through Pakistan's troubled southwest province of Baluchistan, which was plagued by Taliban militants, sectarian violence and a separatist insurgency.
"Officials in Baluchistan have assured me of providing foolproof security," he said.
No date has been set for the service to start, but officials had been discussing plans with bus companies, Khokher said.