Islamabad: Pakistan has awarded the country's highest civilian honour Nishan-e-Pakistan to separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Gilani on the occasion of Independence Day. In this way, Gilani has become the second Indian who has been given this award. Morarji Desai is the only former Prime Minister of India to receive this award. Pakistan gave him this honour to improve relations between the two countries. It has been learned that Morarji Desai is also the first person who has received the highest civilian honour from India and Pakistan.
Nishan-e-Pakistan was announced on 19 March 1957, it has been given to 26 foreigners so far. Queen Elizabeth (II) of Britain was conferred with this honour for the first time in 1960. US President Eisenhower in 1961 and Richard Nixon in 1969 were given this honour. In 1990, Morarji Desai and 1992 South African President Nelson Mandela have been awarded Nishan-e-Pakistan. Chinese Xi Jinping, Li Qiang, Hu Jintao and Li Peng have also received this honour. This award is given on 14 August on the occasion of Pakistan's Independence Day and the ornamentation ceremony is held on 23 March.
Talking about Morarji Desai, former PM of India, he had improved India's relations with Pakistan to a great extent in his short tenure. He was also the fourth and first non-Congress PM of the country. Born on 29 February 1896 in Bhadeli village of Bombay, Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister of the country from 1977 to 1979. Apart from this, he had also been the CM of Bombay. His contribution to the freedom struggle was incomparable. Coming from a traditional religious family, Morarji Desai used to say that every man should work in his life according to his beliefs. During the British rule, he served as deputy collector for about 12 years. Later, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he came forward for the freedom struggle in 1930. In 1931, he took the membership of Congress. He also became a minister in the country's first PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet. After this, he also held the post of Deputy PM and Finance Minister in the Indira Gandhi Cabinet.