Plane carrying UK royal couple to Islamabad returns to Lahore due to bad weather
(Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP)

Islamabad: The plane carrying Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate to Islamabad from Lahore on Thursday evening had to abort landing in Pakistan's capital due to bad weather and was forced to return to the country's cultural hub.

The royal couple were being flown back to Islamabad after a day-long trip to Lahore during which they met orphan children, visited a historic mosque, played cricket, spent some time with cancer patients and joined a discussion with religious leaders on promoting interfaith harmony. Officials said a Royal Air Force Voyager plane carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge first tried to land at Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi and then at New Islamabad International Airport, but could not do so due to storm.

The plane then returned to Lahore, where it landed safely. Later, William, an experienced helicopter pilot, jokingly told reporters in Lahore that he was flying the plane. The royal couple arrived Pakistan on a five-day visit on Monday and are scheduled to leave for UK on Friday.

Earlier in the day, they played cricket at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, interacted with some young cricketers and had a photo session at the end. Cricketers Sana Mir, Hasan Ali and Azhar Ali were also present. The royal couple later visited the SOS Children Village, an orphanage, where Kate gave her first speech during the ongoing visit.

During their visit to the historic Badshahi Masjid, they took part in a discussion with religious leaders to understand how they are promoting interfaith harmony within their communities. They also visited the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, which was also visited by William's late mother Diana to help raise awareness and funds for the hospital. Diana was a friend of Prime Minister Imran Khan and had visited Pakistan twice -- 1996 and 1997. On their arrival at the city, the royals were received by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Governor Chaudhry Sarwar at the Lahore airport amid high security.

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Free Press Journal