Pakistan rolls out red carpet for British royal couple's visit



ISLAMABAD, Zia Khan and Qamar Zaman (dpa)– Prince William and his wife Kate arrived in Pakistan on Monday for the first trip by British royals to the country in more than a decade, officials said.
A special plane carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge landed at a military airbase in the capital Islamabad around 9:30 pm (1630 GMT).




Security was on high alert with at least 1,000 troops and police guards deployed to secure the couple's route from the airport into the city, the Interior Ministry said.  
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several other officials were at the airport to greet them at the start of their five-day trip.
A red carpet was rolled out to receive the duke and duchess and several ministers, diplomats, government officers and security officials were lined up at the airport to welcome the guests.
"I'm happy, Pakistan is happy to receive the royal couple in our country," Qureshi told media ahead of the arrival. "Their visit will strengthen our relations."
There was excitement among the public about the visit with a hashtag about their trip trending on Twitter and social media users welcoming William and Kate.
"This is the most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations," Kensington Palace said in a statement ahead of their departure.
"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," the statement said. Pakistan gained independence from British rule in 1947.
The royal couple will meet the president and prime minister during the visit.
They will also visit programmes aiming to empower young people and learn how communities are adapting to climate change.
The visit will span over 1,000 kilometres, from the capital to the historical city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the north and the rugged border regions to the north-west.
In 2006, the prince of Wales and the duchess of Cornwell, Charles and Camilla, visited Pakistan.
Prince William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, had also visited Pakistan in 1996 to attend a fundraising event for a cancer hospital built by cricketer-turned-politician and now Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Previously, Queen Elizabeth II visited Pakistan in 1961 and 1997.
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Monday, October 14th 2019
Zia Khan and Qamar Zaman (dpa)
           


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