President Asif Ali Zardari conferred on Saturday civil awards to distinguished individuals, including acclaimed writer Saadat Hassan Manto who received the country’s highest civil award – Nishan-e-Imtiaz – posthumously.
Around a dozen other individuals also received their awards posthumously. The list included names such as King of Ghazal Mehdi Hassan, who received Nishan-e-Imtiaz as well, and poet Josh Malihabadi and former Pakistan Peoples Party information secretary Fauzia Wahab – both of whom received Hilal-e-Imtiaz.
Other notable personalities who received Nishan-e-Imtiaz included Abdul Sattar Edhi and Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, both of whom were awarded in recognition of their public service.
Similarly, well known recipients of Hilal-e-Imtiaz include Ansar Burney for social service, Zia Mohyeddin for art, Abida Parveen for music, Anwar Maqsood and Fatima Suriya Bajia for literature, Hafeez Kardar and Fazal Mehmood for sports, and Khalid Abbas Dar for contribution to the drama industry.
Child activist Malala Yousafzai has also been honoured with Tamgah-e-Shujaat.
Maulana Muhammad Mirajuddin Shaheed, a former member of Parliament from South Waziristan, was conferred Sitara-e-Shujaat in recognition of the key role he played in negotiating with the Taliban when they kidnapped a convoy of over a hundred troops travelling from Tank to South Waziristan in 2007.
Other notables who received civil awards include Pakistani ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman and former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain. Foreign nationals from China, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Malaysia were also among those presented with accolades.
Orient McCann Pakistan CEO SM Hashmi, too, was among those honoured with Tamgah-e-Imtiaz.
The president had approved 192 individuals for top civil awards on August 14 last year. The awards are conferred at a ceremony held each year on Pakistan Day (March 23).
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2013.