Saturday 29 September 2012

Thursday 27 September 2012

Birmingham to Mirpur Bus Service: Security Fears Raised

Plans have been unveiled for a 12-day, 4,000-mile trip that will take passengers from Birmingham to Pakistan. Travellers will pay £130 for a ticket between Birmingham and Mirpur, the city dubbed 'Little Birmingham' on the route that recreates the old hippie trail. But already a Birmingham MP has raised fears around security for the trip, which visits cities that have reportedly become hotbeds of terrorism and have links to the Taliban.

The region's transport minister Tahir Khokher says the intercontinental route will span seven countries and include stop-overs in the troubled cities of Quetta, near the Afghan border, and the Iranian capital Tehran. Mr Khokher has promised 'a thrilling ride with particular arrangements for sightseeing, camping and restauranteering.' It will wind through Belgium, France, Germany,France, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria.

The bus will then wander through Turkey and Iran, before finally arriving in Pakistan. Troubled cities including Quetta and Mirpur are notorious for gun fights, with the Deputy Director of Geological Survey of Pakistan reportedly gunned down today, The News International reported. There are concerns that the route could transport terrorists from Birmingham to Pakistan. Since the September 11 attacks in 2001 in America, there have been a string of arrests relating to terrorist charges in the Sparkhill, Birmingham area. The long distance plans were last night welcomed by Birmingham Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, whose family originate from Mirpur. But he has warned that the Pakistani government would need to give assurances that security would be tightly controlled and strict border checks would have to be in place for the journey to be safe and successful. 

He said: 'My concern is about security - Quetta in Pakista does have Taliban issues. 'if there could be a guarantee from the Pakistani government that there would be rigorous security checks I think it would be a great opportunity for young people to drive through Europe and would be a good education to see and visit many different countries. 'This used to be a popular route in the 1970s but the security circumstances have now changed. '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. 'I'm sure the service would prove very popular, especially with average air fares to Pakistan being about £600.' The plans will inevitably prompt fears that the service could be used to transport terrorists to and from Pakistan - but the service will be subject to the UK Border Agency's strict checks at the border like every other vehicle and passenger wanting to leave or enter the country.

A Border Force spokesman said: 'All passengers entering the country must go through our border controls, where full security checks are carried out.' Mr Mahmood's views were echoed by former Justice for Kashmir city councillor Mohammed Nazam, who said earlier generations often made the trip from the UK to Pakistan by road. 'In the 1970s and 80s people would drive a van from the UK to Kashmir and it would take about ten or twelve days of hard driving, day and night,' he said. 'Even in those days it was a real adventure. 'But the world isn't as safe a place as it used to be.' The 3,819 mile proposed route will cross Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Serbia and Belgium before arriving in Birmingham.

Security concerns, particularly surrounding the volatile city of Quetta where top Taliban commanders are believed to be in hiding, have been dismissed by Mr Khokher. 'I don't feel that security will be a problem,' he said. 'The government is responsible for the security. 'Barring one or two instances in Quetta, the overall situation is good to go.' 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.

The picturesque city nestling in the Himalayan foothills soon came to be known as Little Birmingham and is famed for its grand villas and mansions built by wealthy ex-pats who pay regular visits. Mr Khokher says he hopes the service will strengthen ties and tourism between the two cities, which have strong family and business links. 'We are a little behind schedule with our plans because of negotiations with transport companies and bureaucratic hold-ups,' he said. 'But we are proposing to run four luxury buses once a fortnight. 'The Azad Jammu and Kashmir government will also set up a swift counter system to hasten the visa process for those who don't have a British passport.'

Reported by Daily Mail UK:

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Monday 24 September 2012

New 4,000-mile Bus Route from Birmingham to Mirpur will take 12 days

The lengthy commute passes through seven countries, including Iran, before finally reaching its destination.

The wheels on this Brummie bus go round and round... all the way to Kashmir.
A new 4,000-mile bus route has been planned to take passengers from Birm­­ingham to the city of Mirpur at the foot of the Himalayas.
The lengthy commute passes through seven countries, including Iran, before finally reaching its destination, also known as Little Birmingham.
Passengers embarking on the epic, 12-day journey are expected to fork out £130 for a ticket.
But the service will be good news for the people of Birmingham, which is home to the world’s largest population of Kashmiri expats.
The city’s Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, whose family originate from Mirpur, said yesterday: “It’s a great idea that will bring the two cities closer together.
“I’m sure the service will prove very popular, especially with average air fares to Pakistan being about £600.”
However, security concerns have been raised about the route, which will stop over at Quetta. It’s said that top Taliban commanders are hiding in the volatile city, near the Afghan border.
But the region’s Transport Minister Tahir Khokher said: “I don’t feel that security will be a problem. Barring one or two instances in Quetta, the overall situation is good-to-go.
“We are proposing to run four luxury buses once a fortnight. It will be a thrilling ride with particular arrangements for sightseeing, camping and restaurant visits.”

Friday 21 September 2012

Protest in Dadyal Azad Kashmir against the Anti-Islam video

Peaceful protest in Dadyal, Azad Kashmir (21/09/12) against the Anti-Islam video. Please share these photos to show the world that we will not tolerate any abuse against the man that we have unlimited love for, the one and only our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Saw). 

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Chaudhary Qamar Murdered in Dadyal

Dadyal (19/09/12): Chaudhary Qamar (from Bahlote/Battroi) has been murdered outside Anees Marble Shop (Kacheri Road, Dadyal). Three others (the men who killed Ch Qamar) have been taken to Hospital in Mirpur as they are in a critical condition. He was murdered after a dispute to do with changing the tyres of a rental car. The three men from Punjab had rented a car from Ch Qamar (who has a Car Rental office in Dadyal) and they changed the tyres of the car without asking for permission to do so. This led to a quarrel between the two parties. It seemed as if the issue had been resolved but later the men targeted Ch Qamar when he was alone. Initially they attempted to crash into his car, then they opened fire on him and he died on the spot. The killers were also seriously injured in the incident and were taken to hospital in Mirpur.

It's a very tragic incident and questions the safety that we have in Dadyal because this is not the first time that bullets have been fired openly in the Bazaar. People must learn to resolve issues and disputes without violence and something must be done by authorities to stop guns from being used in this way. 

Government Degree College Girls Protest in Dadyal

Girls at the Degree College in Dadyal protested today (19/09/12) by going on strike. They are frustrated because teachers are not committed to providing a proper education and there is too much changing around and lack of availability of teachers, as well as poor facilities at the college. The media was present and girls were given the chance to speak on radio to express their views. 

Monday 17 September 2012

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Friday 7 September 2012

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