–Prince William pays tribute to those who ‘endured sacrifice and helped build Pakistan to the country it is today’
–Royal couple assures Pakistan of ‘full support’ in promoting education, fighting against impending climate catastrophe
ISLAMABAD: Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, on Tuesday acknowledged Pakistan’s success in the war against terrorism, as he lauded all those who “endured sacrifice and helped build Pakistan to the country it is today”.
William’s acknowledgement of Pakistan’s sacrifices came during his first official speech delivered during a reception at the Pakistan National Monument in Islamabad hosted by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew in honour of the royal couple..
“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.
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, Prince William 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”.
He 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.
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 on Wednesday (today) he, along with his wife, Duchess of Cambridge 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”.
The Prince expressed hope “to learn what more we all can do to help prevent and mitigate this impending global catastrophe”.
Prince William, along with his wife Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, arrived at the venue in style in a rickshaw decked out in traditional truck art.
William was seen wearing traditional attire for the first time since his arrival — a teal sherwani by Naushemian — while Kate wore a green embellished Jenny Packham gown, according to Daily Mail Royal Correspondent Rebecca English.
Kate’s earrings — gold plated with uncut crystal stones — belong to the popular London brand O’nitaa, and were sourced from Pakistan, said the correspondent. They were “bespoked specially for the Duchess of Cambridge”, she added.
Many prominent personalities were in attendance at the event, including Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Wasim Akram and wife Shaniera Akram, designer Hassan Sheheryar Yasin of the HSY clothing brand, cricketer Mohammad Hafeez, actresses Mahira Khan, Hareem Farooq and Mehwish Hayat, and singer Atif Aslam.
The National Monument was lit up for the reception.
MEETINGS WITH PRESIDENT, PM:
Earlier in the day, the royal couple met President Alvi and his wife Samina Arif at the Aiwan-i-Sadr.
Following the meeting with the president, the couple called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister House where a lunch was hosted in their honour.
The PM commended the couple for “promoting positive activities in Pakistan” as he mentioned their efforts on raising worldwide awareness on education, climate change, and inequality.
He also appreciated the royal couple for holding interaction with young Pakistanis, including schoolchildren.
The prime minister recalled the love and affection Pakistanis have for Prince William’s late mother, Princess Diana, owing to her compassion and support for charitable causes.
Part of the day’s activities also included a visit to Islamabad Model College for Girls as well as a trip to Trail 5, Margalla Hills to attend an event regarding environmental protection.
At the model college, Kate and William signalled their support for women’s education in Pakistan.
Both wearing blue, the couple visited the school in Islamabad where they hung out with students in a mathematics class. The educational institute was a model school for girls where the royal duo witnessed how a British project was helping get teachers into the poorest schools.
While the Duke opted for a Western outfit, looking relaxed in a light button-down shirt with no tie, the Duchess of Cambridge — who draped a long scarf over the shoulder of her royal blue shalwar kameez — sat down with some of the young students, whose blue uniforms matched the Duchess’s dress.
The royals shook hands and talked with the beaming kids at the entrance of the public sector entity, which was established in 1978 and caters to students between aged four to 18 under Teach for Pakistan programme — based on the UK’s Teach First Scheme.
William and Kate, on reaching the school, shared smiles with the kids and highlighted the importance of girls’ education, besides expressing satisfaction over the ‘Teach for Pakistan’ scheme that helps disadvantaged kids.
The royal couple spent roughly half an hour at the government-run school — which has an estimated 1,000 students from first to 12th grade — before they were waved off by smiling students.
The next stop for Kate and William after visiting the girls’ model school was at the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP), Trail 5, where they took part in activities with local school kids. There, they encouraged local school children to learn about conservation and pollution.
“In the Margalla Hills, which sit in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined children from four local schools, taking part in activities designed to educate young people on environmental protection and wildlife conservation,” said Kensington Palace on Twitter.
They also visited conservationists in the Himalayan foothills outside Islamabad.
In addition to Islamabad, they are set to visit Lahore as well as the mountainous north and the region near the border with Afghanistan in the west.
On Monday night, William and Kate arrived in Islamabad and were received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his wife Mehriene Qureshi at the Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi.
British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew was also present on the occasion.
The five-day visit, which will end on October 18, has been organised at the request of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.