Princess Diana visited Pakistan for the first time on a solo trip for four days in September 1991. Recalling the planning, the princess's private secretary for six years until 1996 Patrick Jephson said: "The trip had originally been scheduled for 1990, but the omens had not been good. Neighbouring Afghanistan was in the throes of another civil conflict, and a coup had been unceremoniously deposed on Pakistan's Prime Minister and the princess's host; Mrs. Bhutto. The Foreign Secretary called with the news that the Pakistan trip was cancelled."

 

The four-day trip was eventually reinstated in 1991. Princess Diana travelled from Punjab to Peshawar. On her first day in Islamabad, she attended an official dinner banquet hosted by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, wearing a sarong style evening dress in pink chiffon designed by Catherine Walker. At the banquet, President Ishaq Khan explained that Pakistan had more than two million drug addicts, and the princess replied: "It is a scourge all of us need to address. It mostly affects unemployed people and those who have empty lives."

 

The princess's trip schedule included a visit to King Edward Hospital in Lahore, a visit to a public school, where she was welcomed by school girls throwing petals at her, and a visit to Norpoor Family Welfare Centre. There, she was hailed as a wonderful role model for the mothers of Pakistan, which has a population steadily rising above 120 million, because she had only two children. "I believe mothers will follow your example," Mahbun Ahmed, the Minister of Population and Welfare, told a blushing princess.

 

The highlight of the trip is a visit to the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. But Princess Diana offended her hosts by wearing a knee-length skirt the mullahs considered too short. However, the princess walked up the steps with her entourage, removed her shoes as she passed through the imposing Alamagiri Gate, and wore a floral silk scarf to cover her head. After the visit, the Mosque's mullahs presented her a copy of the Koran and a black kashmiri shawl as gifts.

 

The trip's last stop was to the North West province of Pakistan; Chitral. There, the princess visited the Sandy Gall Limb Centre and the Chitral Scouts, who presented her with a cap decorated with feathers and an embroidered coat. She was then an honorary Chitral scout. Afterwards, the princess went to the Khyber Pass, a military location, where she met with soldiers from The Khyber Riffles Regiment at 282 Minchi Point, who were responsible for protecting the boarders. After 1980 the Pass became a major route for refugees leaving, or later returning to, Afghanistan. 

 

Sources:

  • Portraits Of A Princess: Travels With Diana By Patrick Jephson. Publication Year: 2004

  • Diana: Portrait Of A Princess, By Jayne Fincher. Publication Date: 24 August 1998