In first official visit, British royal couple 'look forward to build a lasting friendship' with Pakistan

Updated October 04, 2019

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, meeting a range of people from Pakistan at the Pakistan High Commission in London on Wednesday. — Kensington Palace Twitter account
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, meeting a range of people from Pakistan at the Pakistan High Commission in London on Wednesday. — Kensington Palace Twitter account

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, have said they are "looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan" during their first ever visit to the country due to begin on October 14.

"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 Friday.

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", said the statement.

The handout, released by Kensington Palace, currently the official residence of the Duke and Duchess, said that the tour will encompass "the modern leafy capital Islamabad, 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.

During their visit, the royal couple will also interact with organisations "which empower young people and ensure they have the best possible start in life".

"Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is one of the UK’s top priorities in Pakistan," according to the statement.

It said that the Duke and Duchess look forward to spending time with young Pakistanis whom they wish to hear from about their aspirations for the future.

The royal couple has requested they be provided with ample opportunities to meet "as many Pakistanis as possible".

They are expected to meet with "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 statement further said.

Another key area of focus during the trip will be climate change. Prince William and Kate "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".

They will also "spend time understanding the complex security picture in Pakistan". In this regard, meetings with UK and Pakistan military personnel will be held "who are sharing expertise to improve security".

William and Kate's visit to Pakistan was first announced in late June. It is the first royal trip to the country in more than a decade.

As a precursor to the trip to Pakistan, the two were hosted on Wednesday by Prince Karim Aga Khan at the Aga Khan Centre in London's Kings Cross where they engaged with members of the Pakistani community.