The awards and decorations of the Pakistan Armed Forces recognize a service member’s service and personal accomplishments while a member of the Pakistan armed forces. Together with military badges, such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a service member’s career.
Nishan-e-Haider or Nishan-e-Hyder (translated as “Emblem of Haider, where Haider is the epithet of Hazrat Ali and means Lion”, abbreviated as NH) is the highest military decoration given by Pakistan (it is the equivalent to the Victoria Cross and the Medal of Honor under the British Honours System and the United States Honors System respectively). It was established in 1957 after Pakistan became a Republic, however, it was instituted retrospectively from Independence in 1947. It is awarded to military personnel, regardless of rank, for extraordinary bravery in combat. The award is considered to be the highest military award and is only awarded to those who have sacrificed their life. Its exclusivity may be gauged by the fact that since it was established only 11 awards have been made, along with one equivalent award. To date all awards have been made posthumously. However, death of the individual during the act of extreme courage is not mandatory for qualification for Nishan-e-Haider. Of the 10 recipients, 9 have been from the Pakistan Army, one has been from the Pakistan Air Force and no one from Pakistan Navy.
The Hilal-i-Jur’at (as if it were Halāl-e-Jurāt; English: Crescent of Courage, sometimes spelled as Hilal-e-Jur’at, Hilal-e-Jurat, Hilal-i-Jurrat and Hilal-i-Juraat) is the second highest military award of Pakistan out of a total of four gallantry awards that were created in 1957. In order of rank it comes before the Nishan-i-Haider (the Sign of the Lion, which is the equivalent to the Victoria Cross and the Medal of Honor under the British Honours System and the United States Honors System respectively) coming after the Sitara-i-Ju’rat (the Star of Courage, which is the equivalent of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and the Silver Star).
It was created and declared for official use on 16 March 1957 by the President of Pakistan. The Hilal-i-Ju’rat is considered to be the equivalent of the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Service Cross. The medal is only conferable to those who are ranked at an Officer level only and it is only allowed to be given to the Army (excluding paramilitary personnel), Navy and Air-force. The award before this honour is the Sitara-i-Ju’rat (Star of Courage), and subsequentially to this medal is the Tamgha-i-Ju’rat (Medal of Courage).
Unlike the Nishan-i-Haider, the Hilal-i-Ju’rat is the highest military award thus far that’s been given to living Pakistanis to date. The medallion has been given to many famous Pakistani army personal, including many national heroes. Most notably, well known major generals, brigadiers and lieutenants of the Pakistan Armed Forces have all received the medal.
The award holds significant benefits for the recipient including social, political and financial benefits. Land and pensions are awarded as recompense for serving in the Army of Pakistan on behalf of the State for acts of “valour and courage” during battle against the enemy. As of 2003 it was revealed that cash rewards have replaced land being given to the recipient under new defence housing schemes, which had taken place for the duration of the past twelve years perpetrated by the army, which was accounted to the Pakistan National Assembly as reported in the last decade.
Sitara-e-Jurat (Star of Courage) is the third highest military award of Pakistan. It was established in 1957 after Pakistan became a Republic; however, it was instituted retrospectively back to 1947. It is awarded for gallantry or distinguished service in combat; and can be bestowed upon officers, junior commissioned officers and warrant officers and their equivalents in the Pakistan Army, Navy, Air Force, and various paramilitary forces under federal control such as the Frontier Corps, the Frontier Constabulary and the Pakistan Rangers. It may be considered to be roughly equivalent to the Military Cross and the Silver Star.
Tamgha-i-Jurat (Medal of Courage), is the fourth highest military award of Pakistan. It was established in 1957 after Pakistan became a Republic, however, it was instituted retrospectively back to 1947. It is awarded for gallantry or distinguished service in combat and can be bestowed upon non commissioned officers and other ranks in the Pakistan Army, Navy, Air Force, and various paramilitary forces under federal control such as the Frontier Corps, the Frontier Constabulary and the Pakistan Rangers. Although ranked below the Sitara-i-Jurat on the order of precedence, the Tamgha-i-Jurat is in reality the NCO and other rank equivalent of it, as the Sitara-i-Jurat is only awarded to officers, junior commissioned officers and warrant officers. As such it may be considered equivalent to the Military Medal under the old Commonwealth honours system and the Silver Star in the United States honours system.
Imtiazi Sanad is the fifth highest Pakistani military award for gallantry or distinguished service in combat. It can be conferred upon any member of the Pakistani Armed Forces or paramilitary forces who is mentioned in the dispatches of a senior commander for actions that do not warrant a gallantry award. It may be considered equivalent of the Mentioned in Despatches in the Commonwealth honours system and the Bronze Star in the United States honours system. In the Pakistani honours systems the next highest award is the Tamgha-i-Jurat.