When Biden was awarded ‘Hilal-e-Pakistan’

Photo courtesy: CBS

US president elect Joe Biden is a favourite in Pakistan, the country which in 2008 had awarded him ‘Hilal-e-Pakistan’ (Crescent of Pakistan), the country’s second-highest civilian honour.

The then Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had announced the awards for Biden and Republican Senator Richard Lugar ‘in recognition of their consistent support for Pakistan’.

Biden and Lugar had introduced a bipartisan US aid plan which called for $1.5 billion per year in non-military spending to support economic development in Pakistan.

It was Biden who played a key role in forcing Gen Pervez Musharraf to quit as army chief and in “restoring democracy in Pakistan”.

In 2009, then Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said that Biden “played a very effective role as chairman of the US foreign relations committee in restoring democracy in Pakistan.”

He, according to media reports then, had said: it was due to Biden’s efforts that Musharraf quit as army chief.

In 2011, when American forces had killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, Biden had criticised this operation which was carried out by US forces on Pakistani territory.

Interestingly, in 2009 Imran Khan, the incumbent Pakistan PM, had returned his decided to return his prestigious Hilal-e-Pakistan award in protest over government conferring country’s top civilian awards to Biden and State Department senior official Richard Boucher.

However, with Biden elected as US president now, Imran congratulatory message for him was a pure ‘let bygones be bygones’ move.

“Congratulations @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris. Look forward to President Elect Biden’s Global Summit on Democracy & working with him to end illegal tax havens & stealth of nation’s wealth by corrupt ldrs. We will also continue to work with US for peace  in Afghanistan & in the region” tweeted Imran on Sunday.

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