British royal couple to build ‘lasting friendship’ during Pakistan visit

LONDON: Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first official visit to Pakistan has been confirmed and the royal couple is “looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan,” said a statement from their Communications Secretary on Friday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake an official visit to Pakistan between Monday 14th and Friday 18th October, at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“The Duke and Duchess’s programme will pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan, it will largely focus on showcasing Pakistan as it is today – a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation,”

“From the modern leafy capital Islamabad, to the vibrant city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the North, and the rugged border regions to the West, the visit will span over 1000km, and will take in Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes,” it added.

Throughout the tour, the royal couple will visit programmes which empower young people, and organisations that help ensure they have the best possible start in life, said the statement adding that access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is one of the UK’s top priorities in Pakistan.

The statement also said the couple is “looking forward to spending time meeting young Pakistanis, and hearing more about their aspirations for the future.”

Furthermore, the royal couples programme will also “cover how communities in Pakistan are rapidly responding and adapting to the effects of climate change. This a key area of interest for Their Royal Highnesses; they are keen to learn more about the climate change issues affecting Pakistan and our world, and the positive work being undertaken to combat these challenges.”

“Their Royal Highnesses will also spend time understanding the complex security picture in Pakistan. They will learn more about the challenges and opportunities, both of the past and today,” it said, adding that the UK has been a key partner for Pakistan.

The Duke and Duchess will meet UK and Pakistan military personnel who are sharing expertise to improve security.

Most extensive trip

As with previous overseas visits, The Duke and Duchess have asked that this tour allow them opportunities to meet as many Pakistanis as possible.

Over the course of the visit, they will meet a wide variety of people, including children and young people, leaders from government, business and the charity sector, inspiring conservationists, and well-known cultural figures and sporting stars.

The Royal Palace has said that this is the most complex tour undertaken by the Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations.

It said that Pakistan hosts one of Britain’s largest overseas networks, with the British High Commission in Islamabad being one of the UK’s largest diplomatic missions in the world.

“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.”

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