William and Kate tour historic city of Lahore on day 4 of royal visit

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Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore on Oct. 17, 2019. (Pool via REUTERS)
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Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visit SOS Children's village in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)
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Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visit SOS Children's village in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)
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Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, pose for a family photo with the officials and children participants of the British Council's DOSTI (friendship) program at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2019

William and Kate tour historic city of Lahore on day 4 of royal visit

  • They interacted with children at the SOS Village
  • The royal couple won hearts by playing cricket at the National Cricket Academy

ISLAMABAD: Prince William and Kate Middleton, continue their tour of Pakistan today in the eastern city of Lahore — the cultural hub of the country.

The royal couple was received by Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and other dignitaries at Lahore Airport.




Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)

From the airport, they went to the SOS Children’s Village where they interacted with the children. The duchess also addressed a ceremony at the SOS facility.




Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visit SOS Children's village in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)




Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visit SOS Children's village in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)

The royal couple was all smiles celebrating a child’s birthday there.




Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visit SOS Children's village in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)

The pair then visited the National Cricket Academy where they were welcomed by Pakistan’s famous former cricketer Wasim Akram, who currently heads the Pakistan Cricket Board. Several cricketers including Azhar Ali, Sana Mir, Hassan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, and Waqar Younus were also there to welcome the royal couple.




Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, shake hands with children participants of the British Council's DOSTI (friendship) program at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)




Britain's Prince William plays a shot during his visit at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)




Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the National Cricket academy in Lahore, Pakistan. October 17, 2019. (Reuters)

The duo won hearts by playing cricket with the cricketers and young children. The Pakistani officials presented cricket bats to the royal couple as presents for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

Prince William and Kate also visited the historic Badshahi Mosque in Lahore’s Walled City.




Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan October 17, 2019. (Reuters)

Kensington Palace confirmed on social media that the pair will be meeting with patients at Shaukat Khan Hospital, the posted a vintage shot of the late Princess Diana doing the very same thing.

 

“In 1996 and 1997 Diana, Princess of Wales visited the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, a state-of-the-art cancer facility located in the center of Lahore,” wrote Kensington Palace on their official Instagram page under the photo of Diana with a patient at Shaukat Khanum. “Over twenty years on, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit the children’s ward at the hospital today.”




Kensington Palace shares a shot of the late Lady Diana on a visit to Shaukat Khanum. The Royal visited Shaukat Khanum as a guest of Imran Khan and then-wife Jemima Goldsmith in 1996 and 1997 (Image via Kensington Royal Instagram)

So far, the Duke and Duchess have maintained their goal to meet with Pakistani people, experiencing various cultures that exist within Pakistan.

During the visit to Pakistan’s mountainous Chitral District, they were given a detailed briefing on glacial melting, climate change and its causes and impact on fragile and remote communities, the British High Commission said.




Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit the Chiatibo glacier in the Hindu Kush mountain range in the Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan on Oct. 16, 2019. (Reuters)

They also traveled to Bumburet, home to the iconic Kalash tribe to experience the rich culture and history of the area.




Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit a settlement of the Kalash people in Chitral, Pakistan, October 16, 2019. (Reuters)

 


Chilgoza prices in Pakistan go nuts as exports soar

Updated 5 min 9 sec ago

Chilgoza prices in Pakistan go nuts as exports soar

  • Pine nuts are selling for as high as Rs. 8,500 ($55) per kilogram in the capital, Islamabad
  • Around 20 percent of Pakistan’s forests comprise of pine nut trees, with most of the dry fruit exported to the Middle East, China and US

ISLAMABAD: Every evening, farmer Muhammad Ali climbs up the mountains in Pakistan’s northern Diamer district through a narrow unpaved road to bring down at least two sacks of pine nuts, called chilgozas locally, collected by workers hard at work during the day.
Around 20 percent of Pakistan’s forests comprise of chilgoza trees, with the country producing 15 percent of the world’s total pine nuts at between 3,500 to 4,000 metric tons annually. However, most of these are exported to the Middle East, China, the US, UK and Europe, leaving behind a short supply of exceedingly high priced nuts for local consumption selling in the capital, Islamabad, for approximately Rs. 8,500 ($55) per kilogram this season, according to traders.
In Diamer- one of the country’s main production regions for pine nuts- the price is lower at Rs. 3,200 ($21) per kilogram, but remains prohibitively expensive for most locals.
“The chilgoza has been in high demand since winter began,” Sheraz Khan, a dry fruit trader in one of Islamabad’s most upscale markets, told Arab News.
“We are selling it at Rs. 8,500 ($55) per kilogram, and customers are buying it without even haggling,” he said.
Khan, however, said that the majority of his chilgoza customers were foreigners including Chinese people.
“It is quite a difficult and hectic process to pick chilgozas from pine trees up in the mountains, but it is worth the labor,” farmer Ali told Arab News.
“This year, the yield and rates [of chilgoza] are very good,” he said. “I hope to earn enough to pay the school fees of my three kids and fund other routine expenses during the year.”
Laborers and other people connected to the pine nut industry are also reaping the monetary benefits of the highly priced nuts, he said.
The high demand and price of chilgozas in the market has additionally increased awareness of the nuts’ value, and kickstarted a conversation about the preservation of the trees in order to safeguard their environment for the future. 
“The pine trees are a source of livelihood for the locals,” Ali said. “Therefore they have formed local committees to protect them from illegal loggers and the timber mafia.”
Pine nut trees are found in Pakistan’s north and southwestern provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, including in the northern areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. The tree is hard and tall, and can endure excessive drought, high winds, and severe cold in the winter. 
Pine-nut harvesting begins in September. Locals collect the green cones from trees and spread them under the open sky to let them dry in the sun for more than two weeks. Each cone contains between 15 to 20 pine nuts depending on its size. It is then processed through a machine for quality grading before being sold in the market, with the nuts usually eaten raw or roasted.