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Pak govt, leaders say Vajpayee contributed for ‘a change’ in bilateral ties

Islamabad, August 17: The Pakistan government and top leaders have paid respects to Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying 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 would always be remembered.

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Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said, “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 on Saturday, said in a statement that Vajpayee was a prominent political personality of the sub-continent and his death had 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 Vajpayee started efforts for improving Indo-Pak ties and continued them after becoming prime minister.

“As foreign minister, Vajpayee strove 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 said that by creating peace between the two countries, “we can truly recognise the service of Vajpayee”.
Khan said both countries had just celebrated their Independence Days 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 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.

Source Tribune India

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