London: Britain's Prince William and wife Kate Middleton's upcoming five-day tour of Pakistan between October 14 and 18 will be the most complex to date due to the security considerations in the region, Kensington Palace has said.
In a statement on behalf of William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the palace communications secretary said on Friday that the royals will be undertaking the official visit at the request of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and cover a wide range of areas such as youth empowerment and climate change.
This is the most complex tour undertaken by the Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations, Kensington Palace said.
"Their Royal Highnesses will also spend time understanding the complex security picture in Pakistan. They will learn more about the challenges and opportunities, both of the past and today. The UK has been a key partner for Pakistan, and the Duke and Duchess will meet UK and Pakistan military personnel who are sharing expertise to improve security, it notes.
Their programme has been designed by officials to pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan as well as showcasing Pakistan as it is today a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation.
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, Kensington Palace said.
According to details unveiled for the royal visit, announced earlier this year, the couple will cover the modern leafy capital Islamabad, to the vibrant city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the North, and the rugged border regions to the West. The visit will span over 1,000km, and will take in Pakistan's rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes, the palace said.
During the tour, the royals are set to visit programmes which empower young people, and organisations that help ensure they have the best possible start in life. Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is seen as one of the UK's top priorities in Pakistan and the royals will spend time meeting young Pakistanis, and hearing more about their aspirations for the future.
As with previous overseas visits, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked that this tour their first official visit to Pakistan allow them opportunities to meet as many Pakistanis as possible. They are set to meet a wide variety of people, including children and young people, leaders from government, business and the charity sector, inspiring conservationists, and well-known cultural figures and sporting stars.