The Civil Awards of Pakistan are decorations awarded annually to civilians for distinguished services rendered to the state. These are universally recognized symbols of the state associated with honor and prestige. In Pakistan, though, they have lost their significance since the day Presidential Zardari conferred Hilal-e-Pakistan on Mr Joe Biden, US vice President and Quaid-e-Azam Medal on US Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Boucher. Mr Biden happens to be the most fervent advocate of drone strikes inside Pakistan and Mr Richard Boucher has played pivotal role in bringing back the PPP leadership to Pakistan. Sports legend, Imran Khan, has already returned his Hilal-e-Pakistan award in protest over these government decisions. Now the recent decision of conferring Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Sign of Excellence) on Mr Babar Awan, a self-proclaimed doctor and religious scholar, is another deplorable attempt to make fun of the entire nation. Mr Awan who appears on a TV channel as a religious scholar, often preaches Islamic values of honesty and fairness but is miles away from practicing it in person. This is indeed an utter disgrace for the nation that its highest symbols of pride are being cheapened so wantonly. Just imagine the agony of those who actually deserved these awards for their remarkable services to our motherland in various fields of life but did not get them? -IHSANULLAH TIPU, Rawalpindi, January 16.