The British royal couple – Prince William and Kate Middleton – wants to “meet as many Pakistanis as possible” during their first-ever official visit to the country beginning October 14, their spokesperson said on Friday.
“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake an official visit to Pakistan between Monday 14th and Friday 18th October, at the request of The Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” the communication secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said in a statement.
“Over the course of the visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet 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,” it said.
According to the statement, the royal couple is “looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan” during what it calls “the most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations”.
“Whilst The Duke and Duchess’s programme will pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan, it will largely focus on showcasing Pakistan as it is today – a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation.
“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 will span over 1000km, and will take in Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes,” the spokesperson for the royal couple said in the statement.
The royal couple “will visit programmes which empower young people, and organisations that help ensure they have the best possible start in life… the Duke and Duchess are looking forward to spending time meeting young Pakistanis, and hearing more about their aspirations for the future”.
“Their Royal Highnesses 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,” reads the statement.
The royal couple will also spend time understanding the complex security picture in Pakistan. They will learn more about the challenges and opportunities, both of the past and today. “The UK has been a key partner for Pakistan, and The Duke and Duchess will meet UK and Pakistan military personnel who are sharing expertise to improve security”.
Pakistan hosts one of Britain’s largest overseas networks, with the British High Commission in Islamabad being one of the UK’s largest diplomatic missions in the world.
Ahead of their scheduled visit, the royal couple attended an event hosted by Prince Karim Aga Khan at the Aga Khan Centre in Kings Cross on Thursday, where they engaged with members of the Pakistani community.