ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday announced to confer Hilal-i-Shujaat on veteran politician and senior ANP leader Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala in recognition of his courageous role against militants in Swat region. The President by relaxing rules decided to confer the award immediately on Afzal Khan, also known as Lala, for his courageous opposition to militants in the valley, especially when most of the influential political and local elders had left the area. The Presidents spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, in a statement said, The President has ordered immediate conferment of the award by relaxing the rules which otherwise require announcement of the award on August 14 and the Investiture on March 23 each year. A special Investiture ceremony will now be held soon to confer the award on Mr Muhammad Afzal Khan without waiting for March 23. The NWFP Assembly around two months ago had adopted a unanimous resolution urging the President to immediately confer Hilal-i-Shujaat on the courageous and respectable Pukhtoon leader Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala in recognition of his role in fighting against militants for the survival of Pakistan. Afzal Khan, fondly called Lala in the NWFP, belongs to village Drush Khela, which is located in Swat Valley. When the victims of militants brutalities were leaving Swat region for safety, the 78-year old Afzal Khan stood firm against the militants and refused to abandon his ancestral home despite threats to his life. His two grandsons were assassinated and bodyguards seriously injured when militants attacked his home. He miraculously survived militants several attempts on his life. However, once he was seriously injured along with his nephew in a terrorists attack.