Britain’s royal couple to visit Pakistan from October 14-18

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By Muhammad Luqman

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton will visit Pakistan from October 14-18, according to Kensington Palace announcement.

Before their visit, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend a special event at the Aga Khan Centre in London on October 2, which will be hosted by Prince Karim Aga Khan.

William and Kate’s visit to Pakistan was first announced in late June. It is the first royal trip to the country in more than a decade.

The royal couple’s visit, requested by Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, shows London’s renewed interest in Pakistan.

Pakistan had welcomed the announcement of the visit, with its ambassador to Britain Nafees Zakaria tweeting: “Upcoming Royal visit reflects the importance UK attaches to Pakistan. Both countries enjoy historical links and wish to strengthen them further.”

The visit comes 13 years after Charles and Camilla — the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwell — toured the country in November 2006.

But Pakistan still vividly remembers the late Princess Diana’s visit in 1996.

She travelled to Islamabad, scenic northern areas and Lahore, where she was welcomed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, the current prime minister.

Diana — who was friends with Imran Khan — also attended a fundraising event of his Shaukat Khanam Memorial Cancer Hospital.

Britain is home to more than a million people of Pakistani origin, making it the largest Pakistani diaspora in Europe.

Bilateral annual trade between Pakistan and the Britain is over $4 billion, with the UK currently Pakistan’s third-largest source of foreign investment after China and the Netherlands, according to Britain’s Department of International Trade.

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