ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's president and prime minister on Friday expressed their condolences over the death of Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away at Windsor Castle at age 99.
The Duke of Edinburgh was familiar with Pakistan, a country where he arrived on his first a royal visit along with his wife in February 1961.
The royal couple visited several cities during their stay in the country that lasted for about two weeks and enjoyed the picturesque landscapes of the northern areas.
He returned to the country with the queen 36 years later in October 1997 and received a warm welcome from the government and people of Pakistan.
In his condolence message on Friday, President Arif Alvi described the Duke of Edinburgh as a "sincere friend" of his country.
"Deeply saddened on the passing away of HRH Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh," his message was posted by his office on Twitter. "In his demise, Pakistan has lost a sincere friend. In this hour of grief, our thoughts and prayers go out to Her Majesty, the Queen, the Royal family, and people of the United Kingdom."
Prime Minister Imran Khan also issued a statement on the social media website, saying that Britain had lost a "wise elder."
"My condolences on the demise of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," he wrote. "Britain has lost a wise elder who was imbued with a unique spirit of public service. His role in promoting Pakistan-UK relations will always be remembered."
Earlier in the day, Buckingham Palace issued a statement announcing Prince Philip's demise.
"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," said the statement. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."
Prince Philip married Elizabeth, who was then Britain's heir-apparent, in 1947 and played a significant role in modernizing the institution of monarchy.
He remained by his wife's side throughout her 69-year reign, the longest in British history.
"He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years," the queen said about her husband in a speech on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.