Pakistan condoles death of ex-Indian PM Vajpayee

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Tributes have been pouring in for former Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who has died aged 93. His mortal remains were taken to Smriti Sthal on Friday. Vajpayee passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi on Thursday evening after a prolonged illness.

Caretaker Information Minister Syed Ali Zafar attended the funeral of former Indian premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and BJP president Amit Shah walk together for former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's funeral procession. Last night, Vajpayee's body was taken to his official residence on Krishna Menon Marg from AIIMS where he was admitted in June. Scores of people gathered at Smriti Sthal to pay their respects to the tall leader, who was cremated with full state honours.

Sial, who is from Pakistan and assumed office as SAARC secretary general in March 2017, recalled Vajpayee's statements at the 10th SAARC Summit in Colombo in 1998, in Kathmandu in 2002 and in Islamabad in 2004 and said: "His vision for a self-reliant and fully integrated South Asia continues to guide the Saarc process even today".

Several foreign dignitaries, including the king of Bhutan and the Bangladesh's foreign minister, were also present.

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Vajpayee was also considered one of India's best orators, enabling him to connect with millions of Indians across class and caste divides.

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

Pakistan on Thursday extended their condolences at the sad demise of the three-time former prime minister of India and said the government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to his family and to the government and people of India.

"He (Atal) had a major contribution to the state, so the government has chose to give opportunity to people in every district to be part of his last journey".

In many ways Vajpayee was a complicated figure, a leader of the moderate wing of India's often-strident Hindu nationalist movement and a lifelong poet who oversaw India's growth into a strutting regional economic power.

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