Kate makes stunning arrival in Pakistan
KATE Middleton and Prince William have touched down in Pakistan for the start of a historic five-day tour.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be guarded by a ring of steel with 1,000 police officers on a visit dubbed the "most complex" ever by Kensington Palace, reports The Sun.
Kate and William were given flowers by local children in traditional dress when they stepped off the British Government's RAF Voyager plane.
The duchess looked elegant in an aqua shalwar kameez - a traditional Pakistani outfit comprised of a long dress and trousers - by British designer Catherine Walker.
It was seen by many royal observers as a respectful nod to the traditions of the strict Muslim country.
Kate's combination was also highly reminiscent of the outfit Princess Diana wore when she visited Pakistan in 1996.
The couple's visit is the first official one to be made by the royal family to the country since Prince Charles and Camilla visited back in 2006.
In their public announcement of the trip, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said their visit will span more than 1,000km of the hard line country.
It will take in Islamabad, the city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the north and border regions to the west.
It's been stated the Duke and Duchess's program will "pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan".
Their five-day-tour will "largely focus on showcasing Pakistan as it is today - a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation."
Their trip also involves visiting programs "which empower young people, and organisations that help ensure they have the best possible start in life.
However, the visit comes amid heightened tensions over the disputed region of Kashmir, and ongoing terror fears that means cricket teams refuse to play there.
Both India and Pakistan claim the territory over Kashmir, and the dispute received renewed attention in August when the Indian government revoked the region's semi-autonomy from Delhi.
Skirmishes along the India-Pakistan border had already been increasing since February, when a car bombing by a group aiming to claim Kashmir for Pakistan killed 40 Indian security personnel.
Further details of the royal couple's engagements will be released each day amid the heightened security concerns.
They are expected to meet political and cultural leaders, see how communities in Pakistan are responding to the impacts of climate change, and deepen their understanding of unrest in the region.
A statement released by Kensington Palace earlier this month said: "This is the most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistic and security considerations.
"Pakistan hosts one of Britain's largest overseas networks, with the British High Commission in Islamabad being one of the UK's largest diplomatic missions in the world."
The last royal visit to the country was made by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in 2006.
The royal couple will also be following in the footsteps of the Duke's mother, Princess Diana, who visited Pakistan three times during her life.
Her visits saw her lay a wreath at Commonwealth war graves, tour Lahore's iconic Badshahi Mosque, and visit a centre for disabled Afghan refugees.
This week's tour comes as London seeks to strengthen its international ties ahead of Britain's exit from the European Union, while Islamabad hopes to encourage tourism and reassure prospective visitors over security.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters on Friday: "This is a goodwill visit, and they want to promote good relations between Pakistan, England and our new generation."
Government spokesman Iftikhar Durrani said: "This visit is definitely going to help Pakistan build an image in the world, to see that this place is no more a security risk, this place is peaceful enough to host dignities like the royal couple."
He added that the Pakistani government would use the visits to highlight its current stance on the dispute over Kashmir.
The visit has already provided a boost to Pakistan's retail industry.
Last week, stock of a pair of $10 earrings by Pakistani designer Zeen sold out minutes after the Duchess was seen wearing them at an event in London.
Yusra Askari, a spokesman for industry body Fashion Pakistan, said: "The Duchess of Cambridge is a global fashion icon and trend setter.
"(It's) time for Pakistani designers and the country's fashion industry to brace for the 'Kate Effect'."
This article originally appeared in The Sun and is reproduced here with permission