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William: In UK’s best interests for Pakistan to succeed

The duke is expected to say the Commonwealth country can rely on the UK as a ‘key partner and friend’.

The Duke of Cambridge (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
The Duke of Cambridge (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

By Emma Bowden, PA, in Islamabad, Pakistan

The Duke of Cambridge is expected to say it is in the “best interests” of the UK for Pakistan to succeed as he and his wife begin their tour of the country.

William and Kate arrived on Monday evening to embark on their five-day visit, where a large security presence has been drafted in to secure their safety.

At an evening reception on Tuesday, the couple’s first full day of engagements, the duke is expected to say in a speech that the UK will continue to support the Commonwealth country as a “key partner and friend”.

The visit hopes to strengthen ties between the two nations. The UK is seeking to improve its international relations with Brexit looming, while Pakistan hopes to promote itself as a tourist destination amid security fears.

We share unique bonds and so it will always be in our best interests for Pakistan to succeed. Duke of Cambridge

“Pakistan is the world’s sixth largest country by population,” the duke is due to say.

“It has an unbelievably diverse geography that spans deserts to glaciers and everything in between.

“It is the birth place of the youngest ever Nobel peace prize winner.

“We share unique bonds and so it will always be in our best interests for Pakistan to succeed.

“Not least because of the 1.5 million people living in the UK with Pakistani origin and the fact that the UK is one of the biggest investors in Pakistan’s economy.

“You can always rely on the UK to keep playing an important role as a key partner and friend.”

An estimated 270,000 British nationals visit Pakistan every year - Department for International Trade

The visit – at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – will pay respect to the historical relationship between the two nations, according to Kensington Palace.

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

According to the Department for International Trade, UK-Pakistan bilateral trade in 2017 was £2.9 billion – exports of goods and services from the UK totalled £1.1 billion.

More than 1.5 million people of Pakistani origin currently live in the UK, with an estimated 270,000 British nationals visiting the country every year.

The tour, which wraps up on Friday, is the couple’s first official visit to the country.

PA

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