Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf on Thursday mourned the demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, calling him a great man. Speaking to Wion News, the former military ruler of Pakistan said that Vajpayee’s demise was a great loss for both India as well as Pakistan.
“He was a great man, and it is a great loss. India and Pakistan should both feel the great loss of the towering personality of Mr Vajpayee,” said Musharraf, adding that he had no doubt about the multi-faceted personality of the former prime minister.
Recalling that Vajpayee was a great leader, poet and orator, the former Pakistan president talked about the moments he spent with the political stalwart.
Talking about a famous handshake with Vajpayee in Pakistan, Musharraf said, “I remember that when I shook hands with him, he held my hand and started walking to the front. He believed that if we remain bogged down by the past, we would not be able to resolve our differences.”
He further shared a lighter moment with Vajpayee during the 2001 Agra Summit, which did not end on a successful note. It was about the culinary skills of the former Indian prime minister.
“My foreign minister told me that Vajpayee was quite fond of cooking. I then asked him as to what he liked to cook, and he told me kheer. Since I also like kheer, I discussed with him the qualities that kheer should have,” said Musharraf.
He further remembered how Vajpayee believed that inter-state relations depend on inter-personal relations, and also worked towards the same.
Notably, the Agra summit has been one of the major highlights of Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister of the country. Vajpayee and Musharraf met in Agra on July 15 and 16, 2001 to resolve outstanding issues between India and Pakistan. But the summit collapsed as the two sides couldn't arrive at any agreement, despite five one-to-one rounds between the two leaders and hours of discussion between the two delegations.