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We had a bus service from Bradford to Rawalpindi in 70s

Did you know there used to be a bus service from Bradford to Rawalpindi in 70s?

There used to be a bus service ‘Shaheen Express’ for cut price package holidays to Pakistan. It was a 12 day journey from UK to Peshawar and Rawalpindi. Around 40 passengers would travel in one bus with their families and luggage. This one-way trip cost about 40 pounds per ticket.

Mr. Tariq O. Rehman shared a tweet on 8th July, with a video documentary of this splendid journey. He tweeted about his personal experience as well.

The documentary gave a detailed explanation of how the drivers prepared for the route and the ’meticulous preparations’ for the trip. The drivers were briefed about the stops they had to take on the way. From Yugoslavia, a road named ‘A23’ led the bus straight to Pakistan. The passengers received tents for sleeping at night and tinned food which included Chicken Curry, Meatballs and Mincemeat. The bus would have a qualified mechanic, a Hafiz e Quran and some folk Pakistani music along the way.

Mr. Tariq O. Rehman further talked about his car journey experience, when they stopped in Turkey, ‘Turkey was great to us. The mechanic who fixed my electric windows didn’t charge us. We stayed overnight at a roadside “Sarai” and dinner and breakfast was on the house. Just because we were Pakistani brethren. Bulgaria and Yugoslavia were simply beautiful countries.’

Another gentleman, Mr. Najeeb Tariq shared a similar anecdote from his college years in Petaro. They travelled from Pakistan to Afghanistan and Iran by bus as well, during their summer vacations. ‘When I was at Petaro (1966-71) the College used to arrange a Bus trip to Iran/Afghanistan every summer vacations. Itinerary was: Petaro-Quetta-Taftaan-Zahidan-Tehran-Kabul-Peshawar. It used to take three weeks, with nights spent in the bus, except hotel stay every 3rd night for bathing/washing.’

Further people came up to talk about their related experiences and the comments section began to look like a very interesting history tale.

@ElahiAsim shared his father’s experience driving from Germany to Pakistan in a Volkswagen, ‘My father flew from New York to Germany, bought a Volkswagen station wagon from factory and then drove to Pakistan in 1969. I was not born yet but his pictures of the trip were amazing. I would like to do the same trip in my lifetime.’

@maahsudmasid talked about his two way journey to and from Yugoslavia, ‘I have been through such a journey in 1986 from Karachi to Quetta, Taftan and traversed Iran via Isfahan, Tehran, entered Turkey, traversed Anatolia, Ankara, Istanbul and reached Yugoslavia border and then the return journey by local buses, staying at various cities and towns.’

 Who could have thought a time such as this existed long before we were born? These tales are so fascinating to hear and have us wishing to be a part of this as well.

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