ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan yesterday observed a national day of mourning over the death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had approved observ­ing a day of mourning in the country on September 12, on the demise of Queen Elizabeth II upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The observance of this day is to “express solidarity” with and pay respects to the govern­ment and people of the UK on the “sad demise” of the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, at the age of 96. She was the longest-serving monarch in British history.

President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had 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”. Eliza­beth’s state funeral will be held at London’s Westminster Ab­bey on Sep­tember 19, which will be a public holiday in Brit­ain, officials announced. 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.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday con­veyed his sincere good wishes to King Charles III on his acces­sion to the throne of the Brit­ish monarchy. “On behalf of the people and government of Paki­stan, I wish to convey our sin­cere good wishes to His Majesty King Charles III on his accession to the throne,” he posted on his Twitter handle. The prime min­ister said, “May the people of the United Kingdom continue to prosper under his benevo­lent reign.” The council, made up of about 200 members, pri­marily current and former pol­iticians and other dignitaries, proclaimed his accession to the throne in the State Apartments of St. James’s Palace in London