THE Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen is going to his home village in Pakistan to show the people there what can be achieved in the borough.
For the two-week trip, beginning tomorrow, Councillor Zamir Khan will be joined by fellow Labour councillors Iftakhar Hussain, Faryad Hussain and Yusuf Jan Virmani.
The men will be staying in the homes of Coun Khan’s aunties and uncles in the Azad Kashmir region at the foot of the Himalayan mountains.
They will be sightseeing around the area, where Coun Khan lived until he emigrated to Blackburn with his mother, father and siblings in 1977.
Coun Khan said: “The holiday is a celebration of the fact that I have been appointed to the important role of mayor of Blackburn with Darwen.
“Whilst me and my fellow councillors are there, we are hoping to build links between local businessmen and officials in the area.
“We also want to publicise the opportunities available in Blackburn with Darwen.
“It is important I state that this is not an official delegation and no public money at all is funding the trip.”
The group had hoped they would be able to meet with politicians in the capital Islamabad, to begin talks about setting up an agency to provide security for British people travelling there. However their arrangements for diplomatic meetings fell through.
Coun Iftakhar Hussain said: “We want to build community cohesion between both Blackburn and Kashmir.
“We want to promote positive aspects about both places and allay people’s negative suspicions of Pakistan.
“We will still hopefully be meeting some of the important people there.
“The group would be looking to meet the Minister of Trade, and Foreign Affairs.”
He said they hoped to set up a body to support British people while visiting the area.
He said: “We want to construct some sort of body which will help British people if they come into any trouble or need advice while they are over there.
“There is a lot of corruption and people wanting to put money into businesses in Kashmir need assurances that their money will not just disappear.
“We really want to improve the image of the place and build bridges.”