Authorities in Pakistan are planning to launch a bus route from Mirpur to the British city of Birmingham — 8,000 km 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 would 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.

(This article was published on September 28, 2012)
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