CHITRAL: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton paid a daylong visit to Chitral on Wednesday during their five-day tour of Pakistan.
When the royal couple landed in Chitral in a military helicopter, the deputy commissioner and other officials welcomed them. There was no presence of local notables or electived representatives on the occasion.
The couple was presented Chitrali Shoqa and Kaphol at the airport besides an album of late Prince Diana’s visit to Chitral in 1991.
They were taken to Broghil where an official from the Pakistan Meteorological Department briefed them about the melting of Chiatibo Glacier in Broghil National Park retreat by some 10 metres a year due to higher temperatures melting the ice.
Prince William said communities “vulnerable to change” needed more awareness of climate change. The duke said young people were “starting to get engaged”, adding that a “positive conversation” around the issue was needed.
The first threat from the glacier melting is flooding to communities down stream, while the second is removing the water supply completely – which provides for 200 million people in Pakistan.
Glacier expert Dr Furrukh Bashir said he hoped the duke and duchess’ visit would raise awareness of the issue.
Following their trip to the glacier, the couple remained in the region to meet with communities affected by global warming. They also watched an emergency response drill, which included demonstrations of how members of the community carry casualties over a river.
In a speech on Tuesday evening, William urged the UK and Pakistan to “work together” amid an “impending global catastrophe” over climate change.
After visiting Broghil, they travelled to Bomburate village in Kalash valley where the couple mingled with locals and spent time with children. They also enjoyed performances of traditional dances and music by the local people.
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A cap traditionally worn by Kalasha women was gifted to the duchess.
A large number of locals including women had welcomed the royal couple upon reaching the valley. Elaborate security arrangements were made for the visit.
After visiting Broghil, the couple travelled to Bombaret village in Kalash valley.
“They were very happy, meeting and shaking hands with everyone,” a district administration official said of William and Kate, adding the couple also took keen interest in the Kalash culture.