Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, on Tuesday paid tribute to all those who “endured sacrifice and helped build Pakistan to the country it is today”.
His remarks 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.
“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, the Prince 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 tomorrow (Wednesday) he, along with his wife 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”.
William and Kate 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.
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.
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.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had arrived in Pakistan on Monday night. They were accorded a red carpet welcome at the Nur Khan air base where they were received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his wife Mehriene Qureshi.