World leaders pay tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Former Indian prime minister dies after illness aged 93

Pakistan condoles death of ex-Indian PM Vajpayee

Earlier Friday, supporters chanting "Long Live Vajpayee!" escorted his body from his home to the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters where admirers came to pay their last respects.

NE DELHI: Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has passed away. Other political leaders at the funeral were Congress president Rahul Gandhi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and Congress leader Raj Babbar.

Vajpayee was being treated for age-related illnesses in capital Delhi's AIIMS hospital. Pakistani law minister Ali Zafar, Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali, Nepalese foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and Acting foreign minister of Sri Lanka Lakshman Kiriella also visited New Delhi to attend the last rites. "Vajpayee, as foreign minister, took responsibility of improving India-Pakistan ties", Khan was quoted as saying.

"Besides, as the three-time prime minister of India, Vajpayee's leadership greatly contributed to the prosperity and stability of India, and the country attained steady economic growth and became a leader in information technology", Sial said.

Thousands joined the funeral procession to bid farewell to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday. "The government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to his family, government and people of India", the statement read.

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The PTI chief stated that there could be political differences between the two countries, however, the desire to establish peace existed on both sides of the border.

Japan's envoy to India, Kenji Hiramatsu also expressed grief over Vajpayee's death, stating that he was one of the most inspiring world leaders of our times.

LK Advani, one of Mr Vajpayee's closest colleagues and his deputy in the NDA government from 1998 to 2004, was among the visitors.

Mourning Vajpayee's demise, British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith said: "He (Vajpayee) was an enormously important person who we have great respect for and it's a great loss for India".

He was the moderate leader of an often-strident Hindu nationalist movement.

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