By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan-China luxury bus service has been launched that would ply between Lahore and Kashghar , covering a distance of over 1200 kilometres in 30 hours.
The bus was to leave for the Chinese city on Saturday but could not make it due to protests by religious parties across Pakistan.
This is the second bus service linking Pakistan with the neighbouring after Dosti Bus Service, plying between Lahore and the Indian capital, New Delhi. The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and Shuja Express together launched the bus service between Pakistan and China to facilitate tourists as part of an initiative to connect both countries via road under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The Lahore-Kashgar bus will run four days a week, on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, while the Kashgar-Lahore bus will run on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The journey will take a total of 36 hours, and the bus will make five stops along the way before it crosses into China at the Khunjerab Pass. Travellers will require a valid visa and ID card to make the journey.
The one-way fare is Rs13,000, while a round trip will cost Rs23,000, according to Radio Pakistan.
The first stopover of the bus will be Islamabad-Rawalpindi for pickup of passengers and from where it will stop at Mansehara for breakfast at around 7am. The passengers will be served lunch at Besham at 1pm. The stopover will be made at Chelas and Gilgat for tea and dinners at 4pm and 8pm respectively.
The next destinations, according to the bus service organizers , will be Sost at 2am for breakfast and Khunjerab Pass (Pak-China border) for security clearance and checking at 12pm. After half an hour, the bus will reach Khunjrab Pass of Chinese side for the checking, from where it will cover the remaining distance till Kashgar in less than three hours.