President confers civil, military awards on outstanding individuals

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday conferred civil and military awards on outstanding individuals at an investiture ceremony held here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Chairman Senate, Speaker National Assembly, Federal Ministers, Parliamentarians, Services Chiefs, Islamabad-based diplomats and prominent citizens attended the ceremony.President Zardari decorated both civil and military personnel, including the foreign nationals for their services to Pakistan.Over 217 individuals were conferred awards on Pakistan Day, out of which the President gave away around 120 civil and 10 military awards in different categories, at the special ceremony.The rest of awards were given at separate ceremonies held at the provincial headquarters. The provincial Governors decorated 48 individuals at Lahore, 22 at Karachi, 8 at Peshawar, 4 at Quetta and one at Gilgit.

The President decorated with ‘Nishan Imtiaz’ (Civil Award) the members of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms led by Senator Mian Raza Rabbani for their parliamentary services.The parliamentary committee’s continuous deliberations for nine months led to the consensus approval of the 18th and 19th Constitutional Amendments and the restoration of 1973 Constitution.The President also conferred military award (Sitara-i-Basalat) to 10 officers and army personnel including 9 (posthumous) for their heroism and bravery in the war against terrorism. Late Dr. Shahbaz Bhatti – former Minister for Minorities Affairs – was conferred by the President Hilal-i-Shujaat (Gallantry) award, which was received by his mother.Safwat Ghayur Shaheed – a brave police officer – was also conferred with Hilal-i-Shujaat (Gallantry) award, which was received by his widow.The President decorated renowned journalists Najam Aziz Sethi, Hameed Haroon, Abbas Athar and Syed Faseih Iqbal with Hilal-i-Imtiaz awards for their services in the field of journalism.The President also conferred Tamgha-i-Shujaat (posthumous) and Sitara-i-Shujaat (posthumous) gallantry awards to 53 and 7 Shuhadas, respectively, which were received by their heirs.

The Pakistan Civil Awards are given in recognition to the contribution of men and women who rendered meritorious service to the country in their respective fields of activity or performed exemplary acts of gallantry.The Pakistan Civil Awards were established on March 19, 1957.  The announcement of civil awards is generally made on the Independence Day August 14, and the investiture on the following Pakistan Day.The President every year confers civil awards on Pakistani citizens in recognition of gallantry, or distinction in academics, sports etc.The awards are conferred for gallantry – act of bravery, heroism, courage and rendering of dedicated services with selfless devotion in human rights and public service.President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani later joined the guests at a reception. – APP