By Matthias Samuel
The British Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge respectively, reached Islamabad on October 14 for a five-day official visit.
The royal couple was accompanied by their three children. The trip was the first of its kind undertaken by any member of the British Royal Family to Pakistan in last 13 years.
Prior to their visit to Pakistan, the couple was hosted in London at the Aga Khan Centre by the Prince Aga Khan on October 2. The Duchess of Cambridge showed her attachment by turning “Green” wearing a full-length green dress during the event.
This was not the first visit from members of British Royal family. In 2006, William’s father Charles (the Prince of Wales) and the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker-Bowles had also travelled to Pakistan to visit the areas devastated by the October 8, 2005 earthquake. The other royal visits to Pakistan include two undertaken by Prince William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth (in 1961 and again in 1997), and three by his late mother, Princess Diana (1991, 1996 and 1997).
During these five days, the Royal Couple visited a host of places in Pakistan from the modern leafy capital Islamabad, to the vibrant city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the north, and the rugged border regions to the west, the visit spanned over 1,000 km, and covered Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes.
Following the accomplishment of the visit, the Kensington Palace expressed thanks to Pakistan for wonderful hosting of the couple.
At the end of their tour, the Royal Couple during their talks appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for empowering the young people, and shared their experience of seeing how communities in Pakistan were responding and adapting to the effects of climate change.
The Couple communicated with children and young people, leaders from government, business and the charity sector, inspiring conservationists, and well-known cultural figures and sporting stars.
The Royal Couple met President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan. Whilst The Duke and Duchess’s programme also paid respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan. It largely focused on showcasing Pakistan as it is today – a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation.
The visit marked Britain’s renewed interest in the vibrant Pakistan while both countries enjoy historical links and wish to strengthen them further.
Pakistan considers the strong bilateral relations between Pakistan and Britain very significant and desires for further strengthening of the ties.
The visit was being taken as a good omen for both Pakistan and Britain and reflected the importance UK attaches to Pakistan.
A history going back hundreds of years has engendered a vast number of connections between the people and the governments of both countries.
The UK is home to the largest Pakistani community in Europe, with the population of British Pakistanis exceeding 1.17 million.
Pakistan has been a member of the Commonwealth of 53 nations that share a link with the UK.
The unstable law-and-order situation in Pakistan in the past when the war on terror was in full bloom had deterred the international community and dignitaries from visiting Pakistan. However, the upcoming long spanned visit denotes the endorsement that Pakistan is a very safe and secure country in present times.
In fact, this visit dispelled the false narrative of India and few of her mates that Pakistan is hub of terrorism and is not a safe place for visitors and dignitaries.