LONDON: The UK’s royal couple Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton is all set to arrive in Islamabad on Monday on a “historic” five-day visit to Pakistan.
The trip by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will be accompanied by their three children, will be the first of its kind undertaken by any member of the British royal family to Pakistan in 13 years.
According to sources, the royal couple will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi on Tuesday.
After their meeting with Khan and Alvi, the royal couple will pay a visit to Lahore on October 16 and Chitral on October 17, sources further said.
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,” according to a statement by the royal couple’s spokesperson on Oct 4.
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”, read the statement.
Earlier this month, Prince William and Kate said that they were excited to visit the “beautiful” country to meet its people and to experience its culture.
On the eve of the couple’s arrival in the country, Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, said on Sunday that the visit would showcase how Pakistan is “a forward-looking country”, The Express Tribune reported.
In 2006, William’s father Charles, the Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, had travelled to Pakistan to visit the areas devastated by the October 8, 2005 earthquake.
Prince William and Kate’s trip would have been the first official visit by a member of the British royal family to Pakistan since 2006 when Prince Charles and Camilla had travelled to the South Asian country.
Previously, Queen Elizabeth II had visited in 1961 and 1997, and the late Princess Diana in 1991.