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The Nishan-i-Imtiaz[2] (Urdu: نشان امتیاز‎, English: Order of Excellence) is one of the state organized civil decorations of State of Pakistan.[3] It is the highest honour given to any civilian in Pakistan based on their achievements towards world recognition for Pakistan or an outstanding service for the country. However, The award is not limited to citizens of Pakistan and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform. Nishan, translates as Decoration/Order, is a highly restricted and prestigious award roughly equivalent to Presidential Medal of Freedom (United States) and Order of the British Empire (United Kingdom), and is the first category award of Order of Imtiaz.[3] The other three descending categories are Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz. Usually, it is regarded as the highest award one can achieve in Pakistan since the higher award Nishan-e-Pakistan is awarded only to foreign Heads of States.

Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence).jpg
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence), 3rd class. (1956 – Present)
Awarded by The President of Pakistan on the advice of the Government
EligibilityPakistani or Foreign citizen
Awarded forThe highest degree of service to the state, and for services to international diplomacy.
StatusCurrently constituted
SovereignPresident of Pakistan
SovereignPrime minister of Pakistan
Grades5 grade: Star (1st Class)
Badge (Second Class)
Ribbon (military only)
Collar Chain (4th class)
Medal (5th Class)[1]
First induction19 March 1957
Total inductees34
Next (higher)None
Next (lower)Hilal-i-Imtiaz
Order of Excellence Nishan-e-Imtiaz.png
Ribbons: military (only)

The award was established in March 19, 1957, following the proclamation of State of Pakistan as a Parliamentary republic, by the 1956 Constitution. The award is the top decoration in the country, given to a person who has accomplished duty beyond what is assigned to him/her. The person has to show eminence and be outstanding in providing excellent service in a significant field of activity. It means that he/she has to prove that he/she has achieved distinction.

The award may be awarded posthumously and may also be awarded to an individual more than once, though it has not been awarded twice since 1999. Nishan-i-Imtiaz, is an honour given by the Government of Pakistan to both the military officers of the Pakistan Armed Forces and civilians who have outstanding contributions that prompted world recognition of Pakistan. For civilians, it is awarded for distinguished merit, honouring their excellence in their respected fields of literature, arts, sports, medicine, or science. The award is usually given to individuals not groups because the whole purpose of the award is to recognise individual excellence.

For those in the military it is given after distinguished service and is also the highest award that can be awarded to those at the rank of Generals (Army), Air Chief Marshals (Air Force), and Admirals of the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines.

Parliament's committee for the Award and Recognition of Services for the State of Pakistan, select individuals and send a final report to the Prime minister of Pakistan. On advice of the Prime Minister, the President organizes a colorful ceremony that is telecast and broadcast nationally.

This award ceremony is held once in a year, nominees are announced on Independence Day and the ceremony takes place on Pakistan Day in a Presidential Palace. Nishan-i-Imtiaz is awarded to the nominees by the President of Pakistan in a colorful public ceremony.

The badge of the Nishan-e-Imtiaz is in the form of pure golden star with light-white enamel, with well polished green emerald circumference to the inside the golden star. Written in gold words around the green emerald, it reads as نشان امتیاز. A golden Jasminum stands between the point of the star. It is worn around the neck with a yellow, bright yellow and white ribbon (for civilians) or bright green and white ribbon (for military officers) with white edge stripes.

A special grade of the award has a larger execution of the same medal design worn as a star on the left chest. In addition, it is worn as a sash on the right shoulder, with its rosette (yellow with white (for civilians) or/ green (Military officers only) with white and yellow edge, bearing the disc of the medal at its center, resting on the left hip. At the ceremony, both medals can be worn at the same time.

For military officers, the medal is accompanied by a ribbon bar for wearing on military uniform, a miniature medal pendant for wearing on mess uniform, and a lapel badge for wearing on civilian clothes.



Name of the recipient Field Year Country
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Egyptian field marshal   Egypt
Majid Nizami journalist[4]
Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor Hazarvi 1958
Aga Khan IV Religious leader 1970
Queen Ratna of Nepal Queen 1970
5 Abdus Salam (scientist, nuclear physicist) 1979
6 Abdul Sattar Edhi (social activist) 1989
7 Faiz Ahmed Faiz (poet and scholar)[5] 1990
8 Abdul Qadeer Khan (nuclear scientist) 1996
9 Ishfaq Ahmad (nuclear scientist) 1998
10 Dilip Kumar (renowned Indian film actor)[6][7][8][9] 1998
11 Riazuddin (physicist) 1998
12 Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada ( attorney-general of Pakistan) 1998
13 Muhammad Raziuddin Siddiqui (educationist) 1998
*8 Abdul Qadeer Khan (nuclear scientist) 1999
14 Akhtar Hameed Khan 2001
15 Shahid Karimullah 2002
16 Atta ur Rahman (scientist, educationist) 2002
17 Hakim Said (Hakeem Mohammad Saeed) (social activist, philanthropist) [10] 2002
18 Yaşar Büyükanıt 2007
19 Muhammad Salman Faruqui (Bureaucrat) 2008
20 Habib Jalib (poet and scholar) 2009
21 Professor Khurshid Ahmad [11] 2011

22 Mehdi Hassan (renowned film playback singer) 2012
23 Saadat Hassan Manto* (short story writer) 2012
24 Abdul Sattar Edhi (social activist & founder of Edhi Foundation) 2012
25 Khalid Ahmed Kidwai 2012
26 Munir Ahmad Khan (nuclear scientist) 2012
26 Rahimuddin Khan
28 Irfan Burney (Engineer) 2013
29 Rashad Mahmood (General in the Pakistan Armed Forces) [12] 2013
30 Pervez Musharraf (former President of Pakistan)
31 Tariq Majid
32 Hilmi Özkök
33 Shafi ur Rahman
34 Mian Adnan Bin Sultan (Chartered Accountants, Economist)
35 Sherry Rehman (politician, journalist and ambassador)[13] 2013
36 Anwar Shamim (Air-Marshal, Pakistan Air Force)
37 Raheel Sharif (Pakistan Army Chief) [12] 2013
38 Muhammad Ayhan Murtaza (Scientist) 2017
39 Asma Jahangir[14] (Human Rights activist & Head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan 2018
40 Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman (Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy) 2018
41 Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne (Chief of Defence Staff, Sri Lanka) 2019

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Note: It is usually given all together. Only Military officers from Pakistan Defence Forces are awarded the ribbon which is attached to their respected uniform
  2. ^ It is also spelled as Nishan-e-Imtiaz in English Language, it is also known as Order of Order of Performance
  3. ^ a b Honour and Awards Policy, Government of Pakistan, archived from the original on 2007-03-02
  4. ^, Majid Nizami, recipient of Nishan-i-Imtiaz Award, info on Dawn newspaper, Published 27 July 2014, Retrieved 28 May 2016
  5. ^, Nishan-e-Imtiaz for Faiz Ahmad Faiz on website, Retrieved 3 June 2016
  6. ^ The Indian Express, Meghnad Desai (2014). "Dilip Kumar's autobiography reveals his journey from Peshawar to Bombay". p. 1. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  7. ^ BBC News, India (2014). "Indian media: Dilip Kumar's Pakistan home a heritage site". p. 1. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  8. ^ The Hindu, National (2016). "Dilip Kumar's home in Pak. on verge of collapse". p. 1. Archived from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  9. ^ India Today, PTI (2015). "Dilip Kumar's ancestral home in Pakistan to be turned into a museum". p. 1. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  10. ^, Nishan-e-Imtiaz Award for Hakim Said on The Nation newspaper, Published 17 Oct 2015, Retrieved 10 Jan 2017
  11. ^, Nishan-e-Imtiaz Award for Khurshid Ahmad (scholar) in 2011 on The Nation newspaper, Published 24 March 2011, Retrieved 24 Jan 2017
  12. ^ a b, Nishan-e-Imtiaz Awards for both General Raheel Sharif and General Rashad Mahmood given by the President of Pakistan on The Express Tribune newspaper, Published 20 Dec 2013, Retrieved 10 Jan 2017
  13. ^ "Senate of Pakistan". Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  14. ^

External linksEdit