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Vajpayee demise: Pak govt, leaders pay tribute to poet politician

Islamabad, Aug 17: Pakistan government and top leaders have paid respects to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said the former Indian prime minister contributed to bringing “a change” in bilateral ties and remained a key supporter of regional cooperation for development.

Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan also expressed condolences over Vajpayee’s demise, saying his efforts for India-Pakistan peace will always be remembered.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that “we have learnt with sadness the passing away of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee”.

“Mr Vajpayee was a renowned statesman who contributed to bringing a change in India-Pakistan relations and remained a key supporter of SAARC and regional cooperation for development,” he said in a statement.

The government and people of Pakistan extend their “heartfelt condolences” to Vajpayee’s family and to the government and people of India, the spokesman said.

Cricketer-turned-politician Khan, who is expected to take oath as prime minister tomorrow, said in a statement that Vajpayee was a prominent political personality of the sub-continent and his death has created a big void.

“Efforts of Mr Vajpayee for improvement in relations between Pakistan and India will be remembered forever,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said.

Khan said that Vajpayee started efforts for improving Indo-Pak ties and continued them after becoming prime minister.

“As foreign minister, Vajpayee strived to open up ways towards normalisation of relations among neighbouring states and had successfully taken this agenda to new heights after assuming the office of prime minister,” he said.

Khan said, “I extend sympathies to the people of India in this hour of grief”.

He further said that by creating peace between the two countries, “we can truly recognise the service of Vajpayee”.

Khan said both countries have just celebrated their independence and there is also a desire for peace on both sides of the border despite political differences.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif said that Vajpayee and former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif had launched a sincere peace effort between the two countries.

“In the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India has lost a leader whose services to regional peace will be remembered for long time. He and Nawaz Sharif launched a sincere peace effort between neighbouring countries in 1999. Wish India builds on his legacy by giving peace a chance,” Shahbaz said in a tweet.

According to the PML-N, Vajpayee and Sharif had initiated peace efforts between the two countries after the former’s historic bus journey to Lahore in 1999 but General Pervez Musharraf did a Kargil misadventure, sabotaging their efforts and later overthrowing the Sharif government.

The PML-N circles also talk about Nawaz’s efforts to bring peace with India and seeking friendly relations with it one of the reasons behind his removal from the post of the prime minister in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case.

He was subsequently imprisoned in Avenfield properties corruption case last month.

Nawaz and his daughter Maryam are serving 10 and seven years imprisonment respectively at Adiala Jail Rawalpindi.


Vajpayee demise: Guv, NC, PDP: all attend ceremony

Monitor News Bureau

Srinagar, Aug 17: Kashmiri politicians including senior PDP and NC leaders on Friday flew to New Delhi to pay homage  to the former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

PDP leaders including party president Mehbooba Mufti and  senior men like MLA Yawar Dilawar Mir , Khursheed Aalam left for New Delhi early Friday morning to attend the last rites of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The list of PDP MLAs that left for New Delhi include, Mohd Khalil Bandh MLA Syed Farooq lndrabi MLA Shah Mood Tantray MLA Yawar Dilawar Mir MLA Zahoor Ahmad Mir MLA Mushtaq A Shah MLA.

National conference leader Farooq Abdullah and party deputy Omar Abdullah were among the senior men from national conference to attend the last rites of Vajpayee.

Governor N N Vohra also left for New Delhi on Thursday soon after the news of Vajpayee’s death.

Meanwhile, as a mark of respect to Vajpayee, who passed away at AIIMS Hospital New Delhi on August 16, 2018 the Government of Jammu and Kashmir declared seven day mourning and a holiday on August 17, 2018.