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October 16, 2019

Prince William, Kate meet president, PM

Top Story

October 16, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The visiting Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, on Tuesday called on President Arif Alive and Prime Minister Imran Khan separately who appreciated the royal couple for raising awareness on the issues being faced by the modern world like climate change, inequality and lack of education.

The royal couple met the prime minister here at the Prime Minister’s House. They were accompanied by Simon Case, Private Secretary of the Duke, and Thomas Drew, British High Commissioner to Pakistan.

The meeting was held in a warm and cordial atmosphere. While welcoming the royal couple, Prime Minister Imran Khan recalled the love and affection among the people of Pakistan for Princess Diana, because of her compassion as well as commitment to support charitable causes.

Imran Khan commended the visiting dignitaries for raising awareness about the issues being faced by themodern world like climate change, inequality and education. The prime minister also lauded the royal couple for promoting positive activities in Pakistan and their interaction with young Pakistanis. He apprised the royal couple of domestic priorities and Pakistan’s perspective on external environment, including relations with India post August 05 and support for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

The Duke of Cambridge stated that Pakistan was a very important country for UK. He thanked the government of Pakistan for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to them and their entourage.

The prime minister later hosted luncheon for the visiting dignitaries. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a five-day tour of Pakistan and would be visiting Islamabad, Lahore and the North of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge called on President Dr Arif Alvi at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. The president and the first lady welcomed the royal couple. The Duke of Cambridge thanked the president for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and his entourage. They appreciated the initiatives undertaken by the government of Pakistan to combat climate change and alleviate poverty.

Meanwhile, the royal couple evinced keen interest in the Margalla Hills National Park, as a variety of birds chirped to make the setting more exciting. Media persons, both local and the international, were told that the royal couple would spend about 20-30 minutes at the Trail-5 and the adjoining area. However, they stayed for a longer period and also got briefing from the park administration and asked probing questions about various aspects of the environment.

The Duchess wore traditional (national) stunning blue-shade kurta, (embellished with embroidery) with trousers and a ‘dupatta’ (scarf) and the Duke was clad in a sky blue shirt and dark colour pant. The Duchess dress was a reminder of her mother-in-law, who wore Pakistani shalwar-kameez during her visits to Pakistan a couple of times.

They were briefed on how much care was being taken of the park i.e. its habitat, conservation and how students of the villages were involved in keeping it tidy. They were informed that the poorest of the poor students of different schools were picked out to be imparted awareness and education about environment-related matters, who readily offer their time as volunteers.

The royal couple’s absorbing interest in environment conservation demonstrated their exceptional love for nature. They were taken around and shown lush green settings. They walked down to the calm and serene stream, which flows down from Margalla Hills. Multiple activities were also organised for the distinguished visitors, who appeared quite excited.

Prince William and Kate Middleton also visited the Government Girls High School, University Colony here. They saw different parts of the school and also inspected a class of mathematics. They got mixed up with the students of the school. The students, both boys and girls, appeared extremely happy.

The rare visitors exchanged smiles with the students and shook hands with them and sat with them on the chairs as well as the school staff, besides having group photos with them.

The school administration gave briefing to the royal couple about the school. The royal couple was also apprised of the education system in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the royal couple arrived at the Pakistan Monument on a traditional truck art decorated rickshaw to attend a grand ceremony hosted by British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew in their honour.

Prince William was dressed in an elegant green sherwani while Kate Middleton was wearing a green gown outfit. In his official speech on the occasion, Prince William paid tribute to all those who made sacrifice and helped build Pakistan to the country it is today.

"For a country so young, Pakistan has endured many hardships, with countless lives lost to terror and hatred. Tonight I want to pay tribute to all those who have endured such sacrifice and helped to build the country that we see today," said William.

He recognised that for "Pakistan's great potential" to be realised, difficulties will have to be faced and sacrifices made. Prince William also spoke of the unique bonds between the two countries and that Pakistan can "rely on UK to keep playing an important role as a key partner and (a) friend".

"Whether it’s this generation or the next, I know that the UK and Pakistan will continue to exemplify the very best in international cooperation," he added.

Laying emphasis on the importance of educating the youth, the Prince said that it "will be the key that turns the country’s growing population into an engine of growth and help unlock this country’s enormous potential".

Prince William called for a concerted effort between both countries to surmount the challenge of climate change. "Whether in Pakistan or the UK or elsewhere on our planet — we face shared global challenges. The effects of climate change threaten the present and the future," he said.

Prince William cautioned against the rising temperatures leading to a loss of over a third of (Pakistan's) vital glaciers in less than a century, with enormous impacts not only on the availability of water, but on agriculture and hydropower generation. He said that tomorrow (Wednesday) he, along with his wife Kate Middleton, will "be seeing some of these impacts first hand and meeting some of the communities adjusting to the new realities and new challenges that climate change has brought to their towns and villages".

Prince William expressed hope "to learn what more we all can do to help prevent and mitigate this impending global catastrophe".

Many prominent personalities were in attendance at the event, including Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Interior Minister Brig (R) Ijaz Shah, Chairman Joint Chiefs Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Special Assistant to PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, former finance minister Asad Umar, former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari , Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, Mustafa Nawaz Kokhar and Senator Mussadaq Malik. The National Monument was lit up for the reception.

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