ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Information Minister Syed Ali Zafar attended the funeral of former Indian premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday.
Zafar had departed for India earlier today and represented the country at the funeral in New Delhi today. Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal and information ministry officials also accompanied the minister to the Indian capital.
Vajpayee, a three-time prime minister, died on Thursday aged 93. He had battled poor health for years but his condition deteriorated sharply in recent days. The former premier was being treated at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi where he was admitted nine weeks ago.
“Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support. Despite best efforts, we lost him today,” the AIIMS said in a statement.
His waning health sparked a flurry of visits from top dignitaries on Thursday. Those who enquired after included prime minister Narendra Modi, union ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwarts.
Vajpayee, a journalist and poet-turned-politician, is credited with helping lay the foundations for the meteoric rise of the far-right BJP which governs India today.
In a statement, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said Vajpayee was a renowned statesman who contributed to bringing a change in India-Pakistan relations in addition to being a noted votary of greater regional cooperation. “The government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to his family, government and people of India,” the statement read.