Imran Khan pays 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

Thousands of mourners in white funereal dress escorted the coffin of three-time prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee through the Indian capital on Friday, showering his body in rose petals before his cremation.

He provided unstinted support to the realisation of Bhutan's national objectives and contributed immensely in strengthening Indo-Bhutan relations and cooperation, the press release states.

"#AtalBihariVajpayee was one of India's great leaders - saddened by his passing and my thoughts are with his family and loved ones".

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a galaxy of political leaders cutting across party lines and foreign dignitaries joined the rest of the nation in bidding adieu to the departed leader at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal, a designated spot for the last rites of Presidents, Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers, on the banks of Yamuna river. "He will be remembered as a politician who made a major personal contribution to the friendly relations and privileged strategic partnership between our countries". Khan in a statement said that Vajpayee was a prominent political personality of the sub-continent.

"It was India's poor who lived in his heart and who he worked for", said another, Rajkumar Tripathi, who also turned out to farewell Vajpayee.

Vajpayee, who passed away at AIIMS on Thursday evening, had a pan-India appeal and his flair for foreign policy and initiatives were acknowledged globally.

Pakistan's government also paid tribute to Vajpayee.

Yuval Rotem, Ambassador, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, in his message said: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of a giant - India's former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee".

Despite not making a public appearance in years, Vajpayee continued to inspire devotion in many parts of the country, especially in key bellwether Hindu-heartland states in north and central India.

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