Royal visit

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Though Pakistan has not just been independent of the UK for 72 years, and has even been a republic for 63, it is still hospitable for British Royals. There is a certain appropriateness in the impending visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as it is the first visit to Pakistan by a member of the Royal Family, the last being in October 1997, when the Duke’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, visited Pakistan, just a few months after the visit by her estranged daughter-in-law (and the Duke’s late mother), the Princess of Wales visited to inaugurate the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital. The Duke and Duchess will be in Pakistan from October 14 to 18. While Queen Elizabeth’s visit had come 36 years after her previous visit in 1961, Princess Diana’s had been her third, previous visits having come in 1991 and 1996. It was as a precursor to their visit that the Duke and Duchess had been hosted by Prince Karim Agha Khan at the Agha Khan Centre in London on Wednesday, a fortnight ahead of their visit. They not only were given a sample of Pakistani cuisine, but also got the opportunity of meeting a wide cross-section of people from the Pakistani diaspora, which is both numerous and of long standing.
True, Pakistan being a republic has no reason to be too delighted by a visit from the great-grandson of its last Emperor, but being an upholder of the tradition of hospitality, it will have to give an appropriate welcome. It is particularly welcome at this juncture, as it will put Pakistan in the world news for a reason other than terrorism, something which is important not just because the present government wants to give a boost to tourism, but also because it would be useful to subtract one of the reasons given by foreign countries to argue against investing in Pakistan.– Pakistan Today