“I think it could be popular, especially with the young. It would be an experience, an adventure,” said Hamza Waris, who works in his family-owned travel company, Pak Travel, located in Birmingham’s Small Heath neighbourhood. “It would depend on how things were in Pakistan and in the countries along the route”.
It has been reported that that coach route will pass through Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and Serbia before reaching Western Europe. Four coaches would travel in a convoy once a fortnight.
Mr Khokher has confirmed that he is still working to make his dream become reality and said: “We have been working on the coach service which will not only promote tourism, but also provide cheaper transport solutions to Kashmiris, especially since the recent rise in air fare. It will start in March at the earliest because we are still in negotiation with the Iranian and Turkish governments. Besides, the winters will make travel difficult in Europe.”
The idea has received the backing of politicians in Birmingham. The city’s Labour MP, Khalid Mahmood, whose family originally came from Mirpur, told the Birmingham Mail newspaper: “The proposal has the backing of the Kashmir government but they have been dragging their heels and haven’t really publicised it. I think it’s a great idea that will bring the two cities closer together and be a real life experience, particularly for younger people both here and in Kashmir.”
Read more about the new coach service between Kashmir and Birmingham