Imran Khan condoles Vajpayee’s death, remembers him for efforts to improve India-Pak relations
Vajpayee had taken repeated initiatives during his prime ministerial days to improve relations with Pakistan.
Updated - Aug 17, 2018 3:31 pm
Imran Khan, who is set to take oath as the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Saturday, August 18, condoled the death of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The three-time PM who was 93, breathed his last at AIIMS hospital in New Delhi on Thursday, August 16, after a prolonged illness. The leader’s demise was mourned throughout the country and condolences poured in from other parts of the world as well.
Vajpayee, who became the prime minister for 13 days in 1996; for 13 months in 1998-99 and for a full term of five years between 1999-2004, was put on life-support system after his condition deteriorated sharply over the past few weeks. Imran, a former cricketer, hailed the late leader as “a towering figure” in a statement issued by his party – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) while condoling the death. “Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s efforts to improve Pakistan-India ties will always be remembered,” he said.
“It is through the establishment of peace that we can truly honour… (his) legacy,” Imran added.
Vajpayee’s efforts for peace between neighbours
Vajpayee had taken repeated initiatives during his prime ministerial days to improve relations with Pakistan, India’s neighbour with which it has had a disturbed relation over several decades now. Besides initiating the Lahore bus diplomacy in 1999, Vajpayee also met former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf over a summit in Agra in 2001 and allowed the Indian cricket team to visit Pakistan for a full-fledged tour comprising three Tests and five ODIs in 2004.
It was the first time that an Indian side made a full tour of Pakistan since 1989 and they won the Test series 2-1 and ODI series 3-2. Sourav Ganguly was the captain on the tour besides Rahul Dravid who also chipped in as the captain when the former got injured. Vajpayee had famously told the Indian side to “win hearts” in the tour as well.
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, who is currently in England now with the team, also paid tribute to the late Vajpayee, tweeting: “India and its millions will always remember you fondly.”