Imran Khan pays tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee

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Former Indian prime minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee died on Thursday, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said.

The crowd following Vajpayee's funeral procession in Delhi.

Vajpayee was admitted to hospital on June 11 with a kidney tract infection and chest congestion.

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The country observed a seven-day state mourning as a mark of respect for the leader.

Hindustan Times, owned by HT Media Ltd, is one of India's largest publications that provides unbiased news, analysis and features on politics, sports, entertainment, lifestyle and more.

Caretaker Information Minister Syed Ali Zafar attended the funeral of former Indian premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday. Other political leaders at the funeral were Congress president Rahul Gandhi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and Congress leader Raj Babbar.

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Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai led foreign dignitaries including Nepal's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Sri Lanka's Acting Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella and Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali in paying homage. From there it would be taken to the BJP headquarters tomorrow, where people would be able to pay their last respects.

The SAARC secretary general also recalled Vajpayee's "grand diplomatic gesture" of taking bus rides to Lahore and Dhaka during his prime ministership.

He further said that by creating peace between the two countries, "we can truly recognize the service of Vajpayee". In a statement, the French government also condoled Vajpayee's demise. Khan said, "I extend sympathies to the people of India in this hour of grief".

Serving as prime minister briefly in 1996 then again from 1998 to 2004, Mr Vajpayee was admired even by prominent political foes.

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, sent a condolence message to Namita, saying India had lost an eminent national leader who had eloquently supported the Tibetan people.

In many ways Vajpayee was a complicated figure, a leader of the moderate wing of India's often-strident Hindu nationalist movement and a lifelong poet who oversaw India's growth into a strutting regional economic power.

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