SRINAGAR: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Friday said that friendship with Pakistan would be the greatest tribute that can be paid to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who died on Thursday.
Speaking to ANI, Mr Abdullah said, “He (Vajpayee) was a great man, I cannot see the values he had in anyone today. He was from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Jana Sangh, but his ideology was opposite to theirs. He wanted India to be everybody’s. He also wanted to strike up a friendship with Pakistan. Unfortunately, he couldn’t oversee its fruition.”
“I hope that the current government and Imran Khan’s government in Pakistan fulfill his dream, that will be the greatest tribute to him,” he added.
On Thursday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman, while offering his condolence at Vajpayee’s demise, had reverberated similar thoughts saying that the best way to honour the “towering leader” is by establishing peace between India and Pakistan.
Mr Abdullah had earlier called for adopting ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, who strongly propagated secularism, saying that Kashmiris are not terrorists and that he will not accept the idea of a nation sans equality.
He also stressed that he will fight for the special rights given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir under the article 35A while underscoring that the fallout from any tinkering with the Constitutional provision would be difficult to control.
In his efforts to bring peace between the two countries, Vajpayee had travelled to Lahore in the inaugural Delhi-Lahore bus service on February 19, 1999, to attend the Lahore Summit. Vajpayee was received at Wagah by then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (NDTV)