Visit of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lahore – a step for peace

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former Prime Minister of India, arrived in Lahore with a delegation in 1997. This visit is extremely important in the history of Pakistan as he was the first head of the government who came with such an amiable gesture in Pakistan. The visit also held great importance as Pakistan had achieved Nuclear State status in the previous year 1998. Now, both India and Pakistan were Nuclear-armed states, but more importantly, both were determined to shape a new path of cordial relationship as the Balance of Power had been maintained in the region.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee visits Minar e Pakistan

Though Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) popularized for its radical nature, his arrival with such friendliness was plausible for a new trend in the relationship between India and Pakistan.

The arrival is the continuation of the earlier meetings which were held between the predecessor of Vajpayee named “Inder Kumar Gujral” and then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – both were Punjabi speaking and offspring of migrants of East and West Punjab.

Vajpayee visited the Minto Park where the Pakistan Resolution was passed in 1940 – that placed the very foundation of Pakistan. Undoubtedly, that event implicated the acceptance of the Pakistan Resolution and the formation of Pakistan by a Hindu nationalist party.

The visit translated into the Lahore Declaration (1999), in which some important points were laid down for the future economic cooperation and bilateral resolution of the Kashmir Issue. Many people and analysts praised the event, arguing that this visit would bring both states closure to each other and start a new era of cooperation.

However, some radicals on both sides were not happy with the visit. For instance, the JI and other opponents of Nawaz Sharif threw stones at the bus, in which the delegates of India were traveling to Lahore.

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