ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief and Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan on Thursday paid his tribute to former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, remembering how the latter worked towards strengthening India-Pakistan relation.
Paying his condolences, Imran Khan said that Vajpayee's death has created a void and his effort will always be remembered. Khan in a statement said that Vajpayee was a prominent political personality of the sub-continent.
"Efforts of Mr Vajpayee for improvement in relations between Pakistan and India will be remembered forever," said the cricketer-turned-politician.
Khan said that Vajpayee started efforts for improving Indo-Pak ties and continued them after becoming prime minister.
"As foreign minister, Vajpayee strived to open up ways towards normalisation of relations among neighboring states and had successfully taken this agenda to new heights after assuming the office of prime minister," he said.
He further said that by creating peace between the two countries, "we can truly recognise the service of Vajpayee".
Khan said both countries have just celebrated their independence and there is also a desire for peace on both sides of the border despite political differences.
Pakistan's government also paid tribute to Vajpayee. Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that "we have learned with sadness the passing away of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee".
"Mr Vajpayee was a renowned statesman who contributed to bringing a change in India-Pakistan relations and remained a key supporter of SAARC and regional cooperation for development," he said in a statement.
The government and people of Pakistan extend their "heartfelt condolences" to Vajpayee's family and to the government and people of India, the spokesman said.
Vajpayee breathed his last on 5.05 pm at New Delhi's All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). His mortal remains were taken to Smriti Sthal on Friday.
(With Agency Inputs)