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Kate and William’s Pakistan tour ‘most complex to date’

The visit will span over 1,000km – including capital Islamabad, Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the north and border regions to the west.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Jeff Spicer/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Jeff Spicer/PA)

By Emma Bowden, PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Pakistan will be their “most complex” tour to date, Kensington Palace has said, amid heightened tensions and security concerns in the region.

The royal couple will visit the country between Monday 14 and Friday 18 of October at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Details of their engagements will be released day by day due to “security considerations”, according to the couple’s communications secretary.

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The Duchess of Cambridge is presented with some flowers as she leaves a special event hosted by the Aga Khan ahead of their official visit to Pakistan, at the Aga Khan Centre in King’s Cross, London.

Their trip comes as the conflict between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir region is back in the headlines.

Authorities in Delhi and Islamabad both claim to have full control of Kashmir, but both only control parts of it. Their territories are recognised internationally as “Indian-administered Kashmir” and “Pakistan-administered Kashmir”.

Hostilities along the de-facto border have increased this year, as India’s home ministry claim there have been 2,000 “unprovoked” ceasefire violations, and Pakistan say that 45 people have been killed by Indian forces firing across the border since the start of 2019.

The Duke and Duchess’ visit will span over 1,000km of the country – including capital Islamabad, the city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the north and border regions to the west.

A Kensington Palace statement said William and Kate are “keen to learn more” about climate change, access to quality education and military efforts in Pakistan.

It said: “This will be their Royal Highnesses’ first official visit to Pakistan.

“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.

“This is the most complex tour undertaken by the duke and duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations.

“Pakistan hosts one of Britain’s largest overseas networks, with the British High Commission in Islamabad being one of the UK’s largest diplomatic missions in the world.

“The UK’s links with Pakistan are extensive, and Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan.”

The statement said they are expected to meet a variety of people, including leaders from government, business and the charity sector, inspiring conservationists, and well-known cultural figures and sporting stars.

William and Kate will visit programmes which empower young people, especially access to education for girls and women, and said they are “looking forward” to spending time with young Pakistanis.

They will also cover how communities in Pakistan are responding and adapting to climate change, and are due to spend time understanding the “complex security picture” of the region.

The couple will be accompanied by an entourage of some 14 people.

It comes after a royal tour of Africa by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who were joined by their son Archie.

The visit saw Harry visit Botswana, Angola and Malawi, and the duke and duchess met prominent figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa.

PA

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