Pakistan’s prime minister-in-waiting, Imran Khan, on Thursday condoled the demise of former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that the best way to honour the “towering South Asian leader” was by establishing peace between India and Pakistan.
“There can be political differences but both sides of the border want peace. It is only through establishing peace that we can really honour the legacy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In this moment of grief following the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I stand with the people of India,” Imran Khan said in a statement.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, who is likely to take oath on Saturday, said that “the death of Vajpayee sahab, South Asian politics now left with a huge political vacuum.”
The Pakistan Foreign Office also expressed condolences on Vajpayee’s death, describing him a “renowned statesman” who contributed to bringing change in India-Pakistan bilateral ties.
“We have learnt with sadness the passing away of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India, who was undergoing treatment in a hospital in New Delhi. The government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to his family and to the government and people of India,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.
It added, “Vajpayee was a renowned statesman who contributed to bringing a change in India-Pakistan relations and remained a key supporter of Saarc (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) and regional cooperation for development.”
The 93-year-old veteran BJP leader breathed his last at 5:05 pm on Thursday while undergoing treatment in Delhi’s AIIMS hospital. His last rites will be performed today (Friday) at 4 pm at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal in the national capital.