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October 17, 2019

Royal couple gets rousing welcome in Chitral

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October 17, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Wednesday visited Pakistan’s northern area of Chitral to explore the scenic beauty marked by magnificent Hindukush peaks, besides witnessing a melting glacier hit by devastating effects of climate change.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, known for raising worldwide awareness about climate change, flew on a helicopter to the rapidly retreating Chiatibo Glacier situated on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, on the third day of their trip to Pakistan.

The royal couple was briefed about the impact of global warming as they visited a village in Bamboret Valley of Kalash area, where residential huts and a military mess were destroyed in a 2015 flash flood.

Ghafoor Ahmed, community-based Disaster Risk Management Trainer from a non-governmental organisation Acted, gave a briefing about the damages in the aftermath of flash floods and about teaching the locals on first aid in case of natural disaster and emergency.

William and Kate visited the Kalash Community Centre amid a warm welcome

by the traditionally-clad young boys and girls, who cheered the dignitaries by presenting a group dance to the beat of drums.

The Duchess, who donned the traditional brightly-coloured beaded cap with fuchsia plume, interacted with the young Kalash - members of a 3,000-year-old civilisation.

Earlier, Prince Williams and Kate Middleton on their arrival at Chitral airport were presented embroidered off-white gowns and regimental headgear of Chitral Scouts featuring a distinctive feather. This was the similar robe presented to Princess Diana, the late mother of Prince William, during her 1991 Chitral visit. An album of photographs commemorating Princess Diana’s visit was also gifted to the royal couple.

"Fantastic," the prince remarked as he sifted through the pages of the album. Wazir Zada, the first-ever member of the provincial assembly from Kalash community, hoped that the royal couple’s visit would encourage foreign tourists to explore the ancient Kalash civilisation. Deputy Commissioner Chitral Naveed Ahmed said the royal visit to Pakistan’s north was a ''clear-cut message of peace'' to the world and mentioned that abolishing the requirement of a no-objection certificate would boost international tourism.

Archaeologist and in-charge Chitral Museum Syed Gul Kalash said it was an honour for Chitral to be visited by the British royals after Princess Diana. She urged the world to visit Kalash and explore a "living museum of a 3,000-year-old civilisation".

William and Kate flew back to Islamabad after completing their visit to the region. The Duke and Duchess arrived in Pakistan on Monday night on their maiden visit. Their second day was a busy one, which started with a visit to a girls’ college in the capital and then Margalla Hills, where they attended an event regarding environmental protection. The couple was hosted by President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Aiwan-e-Sadr and Prime Minister House, respectively.

In the evening, they attended a star-studded reception, hosted by British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew, at the National Monument.

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