The Queen goes shoeless in Pakistan

Tuesday 07 October 1997 23:02 BST
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The Queen began her trip to Pakistan yesterday. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she visited the grand Faisl Mosque and, in keeping with Islamic traditions, she draped a scarf over her head and took off her shoes before entering the white marble building.

Calling the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, "tragic", she paid tribute to her fund-raising efforts. Diana twice travelled to Pakistan to help raise money for a cancer hospital, founded by the country's former cricket captain Imran Khan. The Shahnum Khanum Cancer Hospital, a memorial to Khan's mother who died of cancer, offers free treatment to thousands of the poor.

The royal visit marks the 50th anniversary of Pakistan's independence from Britain. The Queen will stay in the country for six days - visiting Karachi and the resort area of Murray, where the British elite went to escape the sweltering summers during British rule - before heading to India.

Today, she will meet President Nawaz Sharif and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, an event which has created considerable controversy as relations between the two adversaries are at an all-time low.

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