ISLAMABAD (APP) - President Asif Ali Zardari has expressed his grief over passing away of Professor Vito Salierno, President of Iqbal Foundation, Europe.

In his message of condolence, the President said, "It is with profound sadness that I have learnt of the passing away of the professor. Vito Saeople of Pakistan, I would like to express the deepest condolences to his family and friends. We share their loss."

"In Professor Salierno's untimely passing away, we have lost a great scholar and one of the leading authorities on Dr Muhammad Allama Iqbal, Pakistan's national poet. It was in recognition of his remarkable services for promoting the understanding of Allama Iqbal's message, that Sitara-e-Quaid-i-Azam, was conferred upon Professor Vito Salierno," he added. He said "Professor Salierno will always be dearly remembered in Pakistan. May he rest in eternal peace. Our thoughts and prayers are for his family and friends."

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf expressed his sorrow on passing away of Professor Vito Salierno.

In a message of condolence, the Prime Minister said, "I would like to express deepest condolences on the passing away of Professor Vito Salierno, the President of Iqbal Foundation, Europe. He was a great scholar of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, eastern literature and a great humanist in his own right."

He said Professor Salierno's translations of Allama Iqbal's works into Italian helped introduce the thoughts of one of the greatest Muslim philosopher poets of 20th century to a wider audience.

The people of Pakistan will always be grateful to Professor Salierno for his outstanding services in this regard, he said adding Professor Salierno also had a deep love for Pakistan, a country that he knew well. In his passing away, the people of Pakistan have lost a great friend, he said adding, "We pray for his soul to rest in eternal peace and for his family and friends to bear their loss with strength and courage. We share in their loss and grief."

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also expressed sorrow on passing away of Professor Vito Salierno. In a condolence message, the Foreign Minister said "It was with great sadness and a sense of loss that I learnt the news of Professor Vito Salierno's passing away. I would like to express my profoundest condolences to his family, friends and to all those who had the opportunity to be close to him and benefit from his vast learning," she added.