By Shumaila Andleeb
ISLAMABAD – Prince William and his wife Kate will visit Pakistan later this year on the first royal trip to the country in more than a decade, Kensington Palace has recently announced.
The royal couple’s visit, requested by the Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, shows London’s renewed interest in the country.
“Government and the people of Pakistan warmly welcome the announcement of the Royal visit,” tweeted Pakistan’s envoy to Britain, Nafees Zakaria.
He wrote: “People of Pakistan cherish & fondly recall visits of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II to Pakistan during 1961 and 1997.”
“Upcoming Royal visit reflects the importance UK attaches to Pakistan. Both countries enjoy historical links and wish to strengthen them further.”
The visit comes 13 years after Charles and Camilla — the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwell — toured the country in 2006.
Britain is home to more than a million people of Pakistani origin, making it the largest Pakistani diaspora in Europe.
Bilateral trade between the two countries was worth almost three billion pounds sterling (US$4 billion) in 2017, with the UK currently Pakistan’s third largest source of foreign investment after China and the Netherlands, according to Britain’s Department of International Trade.
British Airways also landed back in Pakistan early this month, in a major vote of confidence from a Western airline, after suspending operations due to security fears over a decade ago.