ISLAMABAD: Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton will visit Pakistan on 14-18 October, the Kensington Palace announced on Friday.
William and Kate’s visit to Pakistan was first announced in late June.
Asked whether a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan is on schedule, the diplomat responded in the affirmative. “You know, Imran has deep relations with the royal family. Since it is a royal visit, such interactions can’t be ruled out,” a diplomat told Pakistan Today.
The royal couple’s visit, requested by Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, shows London’s renewed interest in Pakistan. The visit comes 13 years after Charles and Camilla — the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwell — toured the country in 2006.
But Pakistan still remembers the late Princess Diana’s visit in 1996. She traveled to Islamabad, scenic northern areas, and Lahore, where she was welcomed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, the current prime minister.
Diana — a friend of Imran— also attended a fundraising event of his Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.
Britain is home to more than a million people of Pakistani origin, making it the largest Pakistani diaspora in Europe. Bilateral trade was worth almost $4 billion in 2017, 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.
British Airways also landed back in Pakistan early this month, in a major vote of confidence from a Western airline, after suspending operations due to security fears over a decade ago.
Since the 2008 Marriott attack — when more than 50 people were killed by a bomb in the capital — the country has been largely dependent on Middle Eastern airlines, such as Emirates and Etihad, with most international flights routed through the Gulf.