British royal couple want lasting friendship with people of Pakistan Envoy

ISLAMABAD: Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, who will arrive in Pakistan on Monday amidst tight security, want to build a lasting friendship with the people of the country, the British envoy to Islamabad has said. In a video message shared on Twitter, British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said that during the visit, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will cover the “breadth and depth” of the country.

He said the royal visit, the first in 13 years, would largely focus on showcasing Pakistan as a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation. The visit comes 13 years after Charles and Camilla – the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwell – toured the country in 2006. In their first visit to the country, the royal couple will visit Islamabad, Lahore and Chitral in north-west Pakistan before flying back to London.

The High Commissioner said that the couple hopes to meet as many Pakistanis as possible, particularly the youth who are shaping the future of the country. He said the couple wanted to build a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan. Last week, Kensington Palace characterised the October 14-18 visit as the most complex the royal couple have been a part of due to the security considerations in the region.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that more than 1,000 police personnel will secure the tour as the couple begin the visit, which follows on the request of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to strengthen the “extensive” links between Britain and Pakistan. 

Pakistani officials said the itinerary of their five-day stay was being tightly guarded by the military, with local media only being told details at the last minute. During the tour, the royals are set to visit programmes which empower young people, and organisations that help ensure they have the best possible start in life.

Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is seen as one of the UK’s top priorities in Pakistan and the royals will spend time meeting young Pakistanis and hearing more about their aspirations for the future. According to local media reports, the royal couple will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi on October 15 and after meeting them, they will go to Lahore on October 16, arriving a day later in Chitral. PTI