The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to visit Pakistan

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Prince William highlights UK’s ‘unique bonds’
with Pakistan during visit with wife Kate

Monday 14th to Friday 18th October 2019

By : Charlotte Greenfield

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince
William said the United Kingdom and Pakistan share “unique bonds” in a speech
at the country’s national monument in Islamabad . evening during a five-day
visit to the South Asian nation with his wife Kate.

Prince William spoke of the warm welcome and
delicious food they had experienced in Pakistan after arriving on Monday 14th
Oct., evening and visiting local school children and Pakistan’s Prime Minister
Imran Khan.

“The UK and Pakistan share unique bonds and
so it will always be in our best interests for you to succeed,” William said at
the event hosted by the British High Commission, adding that 1.5 million people
living in the UK had Pakistani heritage and the UK was one of Pakistan’s top
investors. “You can rely on us to keep playing an important role as a key
partner and your friend.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at
the hilltop monument in a rickshaw painted with the Pakistani and UK flags.
Prince William wore a teal sherwani suit, a long dresscoat worn over trousers,
while the Duchess of Cambridge wore a dress by British designer Jenny Packham
in deep green, the color of Pakistan’s flag.

Foreign policy experts and officials have
said the trip, the first by a British royal family member in more than a decade
and made at the request of the British foreign office, represented a soft power
push, which may help both sides further their diplomatic aims.

It comes as Britain seeks to reinvigorate its
foreign relationships as the deadline looms for its departure from the European
Union, while Pakistan works to repair its global image to boost tourism and
investment.

William also mentioned the looming challenge
of climate change to Pakistan, as well as the importance of women having access
to education, two themes of a trip which has been described by palace officials
as the most complex the couple have undertaken due to security issues.

Earlier in the day the couple met Khan, a
former international cricket star who the prince played cricket with in London
as a child, at his official residence.

William’s mother Princess Diana, a hugely
popular figure in Pakistan, visited Pakistan several times in the 1990s and
helped Khan raise money for a cancer hospital.

“While welcoming the royal couple, Prime
Minister Imran Khan recalled the love and affection among the people of Pakistan
for Princess Diana, because of her compassion as well as commitment to support
charitable causes,” Khan’s office said in a statement.

He had also brought up geopolitical issues
such as India’s decision to revoke the autonomy of its portion of the disputed
region of Kashmir in August and attempts to secure peace in neighboring
Afghanistan.

Earlier William and Kate met students at an
Islamabad Model College for Girls, discussing education with a group of older
students and visiting the classrooms of younger students, admiring their
drawings.

As they left, a group of girls sang one of
Pakistan’s national songs and the couple greeted kindergartners who had lined
up to chant “bye bye”.

While visiting the school a 14-year-old
student told William she and other students were “big fans” of Princess Diana,
who died in a car crash in 1997.

“Oh that’s very sweet of you. I was a big fan
of my mother too,” he replied.

They then visited the Margalla Hills National
Park on the edge of Islamabad, which is under threat from poaching, wildfires,
invasive species and littering.

For the morning events, Kate wore a
periwinkle blue silk shalwar kameez, the national outfit of Pakistan consisting
of a loose tunic worn over trousers. Many on social media and in the fashion
industry had been hoping she would don the outfit, which Princess Diana had
worn during visits.

The designer, Maheen Khan, said on Twitter:
“It is an honor to have been asked to create this outfit for the Duchess.”

The Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion choices,
including a bright green tunic over white pants to meet with the Prime
Minister, appeared to echo many of the colours and outfits worn by Diana.     

 ‘Courtesy Reuters’

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