RAWALPINDI: British Prince William and Catherine (Kate) Elizabeth Middleton, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in Pakistan late Monday evening.
The royal couple touched down at the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, as Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew, officials from the Foreign Office, and top government officials cordially received them at the red carpet.
Guard of honour will be presented to Prince William and Kate Middleton. The royal couple visiting along with their three children on an official tour, which is expected to repair Pakistan’s international image a great deal. The trip will be the first of its kind undertaken by any member of the British royal family to Pakistan in 13 years.
The royal couple will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi on Tuesday. Following their meeting with Khan and Alvi, the royal couple will pay a visit to Lahore on October 16 and Chitral on October 17.
The visit comes 13 years after Charles and Camilla – the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwell – toured the country in 2006. Pakistan still vividly remembers the late Princess Diana’s visit in 1996.
“The UK’s links with Pakistan are extensive, and Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan,” read a statement by the royal couple’s spokesperson on Oct 4.
Back in 2006, Prince William’s father Charles — the Prince of Wales — and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker-Bowles had travelled to Pakistan to visit the areas devastated by the October 8, 2005 earthquake.
Other royal visits to Pakistan include two undertaken by Prince William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth (in 1961 and 1997) and three by his late mother, Princess Diana (1991, 1996, and 1997).
In 1961, Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by husband Prince Philip — the Duke of Edinburgh — had embarked upon on a seven-week tour of India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Iran.
Remember, during her October 1997 trip to Pakistan, the Queen had used an address to the parliament in Islamabad to call on Pakistan and India to settle their differences.
Newspaper archives reveal that the Queen, who had not been Queen of Pakistan since 1956, and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, were welcomed in Islamabad by the-then Pakistani President Farooq Leghari.
During the course of their visit, Prince William and Kate “will pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan” but the larger focus will remain “on showcasing Pakistan as it is today – a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation”