Pakistan observes day of national mourning on Queen’s death

Islamabad: Pakistan observed a day of mourning Monday over the death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had accorded his approval for observing a day of mourning in the country on September 12, on the demise of Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, at the age of 96. She was the longest-serving monarch in British history.

President Arif Alvi hailed Queen Elizabeth II as a “great and beneficent ruler” following her death. Her departure has left an immense vacuum, he said, adding that she “would be remembered in golden words in the annals of world history”.

Premier Shehbaz was also “deeply grieved” at the Queen’s passing. “Pakistan joins the UK and other Commonwealth nations in mourning her death. My heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family, people & government of the UK,” he said.

Queen Elizabeth visited Pakistan twice, once in 1961 and again in 1997 as the country celebrated 50 years of independence from British colonial rule.

Elizabeth’s state funeral will be held at London’s Westminster Abbey on Monday, Sept 19, which will be a public holiday in Britain, officials announced.

US President Joe Biden said he would be there, although full details of the event and the attendees have not yet been released. Before that, her coffin will be flown to London and there will be a sombre procession when it is later moved from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where it will lie in state for four days.

In 2002, more than 200,000 people queued to pay their respects to Elizabeth’s mother while her coffin lay in state and aides have previously said there is an expectation that millions may want to visit.