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Prince William-Kate Middleton arrived in Pakistan

15 October, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, arrived on their first visit to Pakistan on Monday evening. The royal couple was welcomed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his wife after their airplane landed at the Nur Khan Airbase near the capital. British High Commissioner in Pakistan Thomas Drew was also present on the occasion.

William and Kate disembarked from the Royal Air Force plane onto a red carpet that had been rolled out for them. 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. "I am glad that the people-to-people contact that will be established will generate goodwill," he said.

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, aspirational 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.

Security personnel from the United Kingdom (UK) with the assistance of local forces, paramilitary troops and police will be providing security to the visiting royal couple during their stay in Pakistan.

An advance security team from the UK, comprising over half a dozen personnel, had arrived in the capital and reviewed the security arrangements for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton, officials told Dawn.

Besides, security officials from British High Commission in Islamabad also strengthened the couple’s security. Contingents of the Army, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary (FC) are also taking part in the VVIP security for the visiting royal couple.

During their movements in the city, VVIP route will be put in place to ensure smooth flow of their cavalcade and ensure security. The members of the British royal family will also be provided box security.

Arrangements were also made for their stay in the heavily guarded Diplomatic Enclave, said the officials.

More contingents of police and paramilitary troops were deployed in and around the enclave. Deployment was also made on rooftops of high-rise buildings near the Diplomatic Enclave.

Earlier, the capital police along with paramilitary troops combed and searched adjacent areas of the enclave, including Margalla Hills. After the exercise, more personnel were deployed on the hills.

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