By Muhammad Luqman
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton will undertake an official visit to Pakistan this autumn, announced the Kensington Palace.
The British royal family shared the news via their Twitter and Instagram account recently, confirming the royal duo will be conducting the official visit in the autumn, local media reported on Sunday.
According to a tweet published by Kensington Palace, the visit is being undertaken at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
It’s unclear if Prince William and Kate’s children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and baby Prince Louis — will accompany the couple, both 37, on the visit.
It will be the first official visit by a member of the British royal family to Pakistan since 2006 when Prince Charles and Camilla Parker traveled to Pakistan.
Previously, the Queen Elizbeth visited the South Asian country in 1961 and 1997, and Princess Diana traveled there on a solo trip in 1991.
According to the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, approximately 270,000 British nationals visit Pakistan every year. The two countries also have strong trade links, with U.K.-Pakistan bilateral trade in 2017 valued at £2.9 billion, or roughly $3.7 billion.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Mohammad Nafees Zakaria warmly welcomed the royal tweet, posting, “Upcoming Royal visit reflects the importance UK attaches to Pakistan. Both countries enjoy historical links & wish to strengthen further.”
Zakaria continued, “Government and the people of Pakistan warmly welcome the announcement.”
According to British newspaper, The Telegraph, the couple has not toured together for 18 months and will be visiting Pakistan in the autumn to take on heavyweight roles in Britain’s overseas diplomacy.
The Cambridges are likely to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan in an official capacity during their visit, according to media reports.
The news comes days after the announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be embarking on a tour of Africa, also in the autumn.
They will visit South Africa, with Harry also making stops in Malawi and Angola. He’ll also do a “short working visit in Botswana en route to the other countries,” according to a post on the couple’s Instagram account.
By Muhammad Luqman