Birmingham to Pakistan bus route launch delayed

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Plans for a bus service between Birmingham and Pakistan have been delayed because of problems over transit permits.

The 4,000-mile (6,400km) route to Mirpur runs through Iran, Turkey and near the Afghan border.

The service is being set up by the transport minister for Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The route includes stopovers in Quetta, near the Afghan border, and in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Tickets for the 12-day journey are expected to cost £130 each.

The Mirpur region's transport chief, Tahir Khokher, said details about when the service should be running will be announced in three to four weeks.

Risks 'exaggerated'

Mr Khokher said: "I am talking to the various embassies - hopefully in three to four weeks, once these issues are ironed out, we can announced a schedule."

However there are security concerns in the region.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised British nationals against all travel to Iran and all but essential travel to Quetta.

Mr Khokher said the risks were exaggerated and insisted the service will go ahead.

Birmingham is home to the world's largest population of Kashmiri expatriates, many having emigrated from Mirpur in the 1960s after being displaced by the building of a dam.

Mirpur has been called "Little Birmingham" because of the close family and cultural ties between the two regions.

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