Pakistani journalists and politicians on Thursday condoled the death of former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and acknowledged his efforts for peace between the two countries.

Imran Khan, the prime minister-in-waiting, expressed "immense sadness at the loss of such a towering political figure from the subcontinent" and said that "he shares India's sorrow in their hour of grief".

The PTI chairman recognised the deceased's conciliatory efforts, adding: "A big gap has been left in South Asian politics with Vajpayee's death."

Journalist-turned-politician, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed termed it "an irreparable loss" and said that "he was [an] icon of peace who had a Nixonian vision to reach out for building bridges with Pakistan; honoured to serve as a minister-in-waiting during his famous bus journey to Lahore in 1999".

BBC journalist Shafi Naqi Jamie acknowledged Vajpayee's efforts towards peace and tweeted: "He served three terms as PM and will be remembered for moves towards economic reform and his determination to pursue a peace process with neighbouring Pakistan."

Journalist and media consultant to Bilawal Bhutto, Omar Quraishi reminisced how well-liked the former premier had been in Pakistan, tweeting: "Despite being from the BJP, Atal Behari Vajpayee was quite a liked figure in Pakistan — not least because he himself came to Lahore on the Dosti Bus".

PML-N MNA Maiza Hameed also expressed sadness at Vajpayee's death, tweeting: "saddened by the death of a true statesman #AtalBehariVajpayee who served his country with distinction. One of the few men in the world whose experience was surpassed only by his genuine wisdom".

Well-known broadcast journalist Amir Mateen tweeted: "Atal Behari Vajpayee: death of a statesman. He was definitely one of the most towering PMs. And he definitely made an effort for India-Pakistan peace but we failed him. RIP"

Columnist and author Mehr Tarar extended her condolences to the family and all of India, recognising that he was "the Indian prime minister who travelled to Lahore in the Sada-e-Sarhad bus with a message of dosti, who wished India & Pakistan to move beyond the bloodied history, and be friends".

Senior journalist Shaheen Salahuddin also mourned the departure of the "great man", recognising that he "worked hard for peace between India and Pakistan".

PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry tweeted: "a legend has departed, his politics was controversial but his desire for peace was unifying".

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