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Royal couple arrives in a colourful rickshaw at a reception in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a colourful entrance as they arrived in an auto rickshaw for a special reception hosted by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan in Islamabad.

Kate wore a sparkling dark green dress while William donned a traditional sherwani suit for the event held at the Pakistan Monument.

The royal pair is on a five-day tour of the South Asian country.

Earlier, they had met schoolchildren and had lunch with the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan.

The duke acknowledged the hardships of the nation and the 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,” he said.

He promised Pakistan could rely on Britain as “a key partner and your friend”.

Guests at the reception hosted by the British High Commissioner, Thomas Drew, included people from the business community, music and film fraternity and government officials.

It is the first royal visit to the commonwealth country since the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited in 2006.

On a visit to the Islamabad Model College for Girls, the couple spoke to children, including 14-year-old girl, Aima, who told him that she and her classmates were “big fans” of his mother.

“Oh, that’s very sweet of you. I was a big fan of my mother too,” the duke said.

“She came here three times. I was very small. This is my first time and it is very nice to be here and meet you all,” he added.

The British High Commission said UK aid has helped impart quality education to more than 5.5 million girls in Pakistan.

The royal couple also trekked through the Margalla Hills National Park before travelling to the PM’s official residence in Islamabad for a private lunch.

Imran Khan, a former international cricketing star and now PM, was Princess Diana’s friend.

Prince William and Khan reminisced about meeting each other when the duke was a boy at a gathering in Richmond, south-west London, in 1996.

The duke told how everyone laughed at the time, when Khan announced his ambition of becoming prime minister to William and his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.