ISLAMABAD - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, will arrive in Pakistan today (October 14) aiming to build a lasting friendship with Pakistan.

A statement before the royal couple’s visit said they are “looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan.”

Ahead of their visit, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew yesterday expressed optimism that visit of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Pakistan will help promote historic relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

In a video statement, he said it will be an exciting program and will focus largely on today’s Pakistan and its dynamic, aspirational and forward looking nation.

The High Commissioner said the royal couple would like to see the length and breadth of the country, ranging from modern leafy capital Islamabad to vibrant city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside of North and rugged border region of the West.

He said that they will get the flavor of enormous opportunities in the hands of Pakistan s young population as well as the country responding to the challenges like climate change.

Prince William, Kate Middleton arrive today

Thomas Drew said Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton hope to meet as many Pakistanis as possible during the course of the visit, especially the young people who would shape the country s future.

The British High Commissioner said they were looking forward to build a lasting friendship with people of Pakistan. He hoped they would get a very warm welcome during visit to Pakistan.

The royal couple will meet President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan tomorrow (October 15). Following their meeting with President Alvi and PM Khan, the royal couple will pay a visit to Lahore on October 16 and Chitral on October 17.

The visit comes 13 years after Charles and Camilla – the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwell – toured the country in 2006. Pakistan still vividly remembers the late Princess Diana’s visit in 1996.

“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,” read a statement by the royal couple’s spokesperson.

During the course of their visit, Prince William and Kate “will pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan” but the larger focus will remain “on showcasing Pakistan as it is today – a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation,” the statement said.

The handout, released by Kensington Palace, currently the official residence of the Duke and Duchess, said that the tour will encompass “the modern leafy capital Islamabad, 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 it’s beautiful landscapes,” it added.

They will also interact with organisations “which empower young people and ensure they have the best possible start in life.”

“Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is one of the UK’s top priorities in Pakistan,” mentioned the statement.

Moreover, they are expected to meet with “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.”

A particular attention will be paid to climate change issues affecting Pakistan and the positive work being undertaken to combat these challenges.

The official statement also said that throughout the tour the couple would visit programmes which empower young people and see how communities in Pakistan are responding and adapting to the effects of climate change.

They will also “spend time understanding the complex security picture in Pakistan”. Furthermore, meetings will be held with UK and Pakistan military personnel “who are sharing expertise to improve security.”

It added: “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.”

This month, the Kensington Palace had described Prince William and Kate Middleton’s upcoming visit to Pakistan as their “most complex” tour to date.