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I have received the shocking news of the demise of Mr. Nelson Rolihlaha Mandela with the deepest sorrow. I had the honour and privilege of hosting him in Islamabad in 1999. Mr. Nelson Mandela’s personality has left a deep imprint on my heart.

On behalf of the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and on my own behalf, I extend to Your Excellency, the government, the family and the people of the Republic of South Africa, our heartfelt condolences.

The demise of Mr. Nelson Mandela has not only deprived South Africa of a great leader but the whole world. He has been a beacon of hope for the oppressed people the world over. Mr. Nelson Mandela will continue to live forever in the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan who were deeply touched by his affection that he had shown during his two visits to Islamabad.

Pakistan had been at the forefront of the international efforts to dismantle the apartheid. The people of Pakistan are proud to walk the last mile of democracy in South Africa. Nelson Mandela appreciated Pakistan’s support and twice visited Islamabad, first in 1992 and then in May in 1999. During his second visit Mr. Mandela had addressed the joint sitting of the Parliament in which he had stated “our nations are joined, not only by cultural and religious bonds, but also by common experiences and challenges, we have both struggled and sacrificed for the ideals of freedom and learned how valuable democracy is”. Pakistan will always remember these golden words of Nelson Mandela.

May his soul rest in eternal peace. May God bless the members of the bereaved family as well as the people of South Africa with the courage and fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and the ability to continue to follow his footsteps to make this world a better place for everyone.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(Muhammad Nawaz Sharif)
Prime Minister of the
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
H.E. Mr. Jacob ZUMA
President of the Republic of South Africa

December 6, 2013

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