Britain’s Cambridge Duke and Duchess, Prince William and Kate Middleton, arrived in Pakistan on Monday evening on their first visit.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his wife greeted the royal couple after their aircraft landed near the capital at the Nur Khan Airbase. On the occasion Thomas Drew, British High Commissioner, was also present in Pakistan.
William and Kate disembarked on a red carpet that had been laid out for them from the Royal Air Force plane.
The five-day visit, which will end on October 18, has been organised at the request of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Foreign Minister Qureshi, while speaking to the media at Nur Khan Airbase earlier, recounted the past visits to Pakistan by members of the British royal family.
He said Pakistanis still recognise Prince William’s mother Princess Diana for her humanitarian work, especially her fund-raising efforts for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, which was built by now Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The minister noted that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will travel across the country as part of a “very elaborate” programme.
This will be the first royal tour to the country since 2006 when Prince Charles and Camilla, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, travelled to Pakistan.
Taking to Twitter earlier in the day, British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said it will be a “very exciting programme”.
“It will of course pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan. But it will focus largely on showcasing Pakistan as it is today: a dynamic, aspiration and forward-looking nation,” he said.
He added that the royal couple was looking forward to meeting as many Pakistanis as possible and building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan.
During their time in Pakistan, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Islamabad, Lahore, Gilgit-Baltistan and rugged border regions to the west, an official handout from Kensington Palace had stated. The visit will span over 1,000 kilometres, and will take in Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes, the handout said.
“Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is one of the UK’s top priorities in Pakistan,” it added.