ISLAMABAD - Ambassador of France to Pakistan, Philippe Thiébaud, has conferred the prestigious French award of "Order of Arts and Letters" (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) on Tehmina Durrani here the other day.

President Charles de Gaulle established this award. Its purpose is the recognition of significant meritorious contributions to the arts and literature, or the propagation of these fields. The recipients of this award are French nationals as well as prestigious foreign writers, artists and musicians.

Tehmina Durrani's first book "My Feudal Lord" has been translated into 39 languages and received many awards and recognition in the country and abroad. Her second book "A Mirror to the Blind", a biography of Abdul Sattar Edhi, narrates Pakistan's renowned and highly decorated social worker.

Her third book "Blasphemy" was another success. This book also made it into Pakistan's bestseller list. She has been engaged in highlighting gender-based violence in Pakistan's rural and urban society. "Happy Things in Sorrow Times" is a novel with 35 watercolour illustrations done in Kandahar at an Afghan refugee camp.

Before conferring the award, Ambassador Philippe Thiébaud highlighted the literary and social work done by Durrani and said that this award was recognition of her achievements.

The ambassador quoted the saying of famous French writer André Malraux, "Culture is the soul of democracy and freedom."

Durrani thanked the French government for bestowing this award on her. She also thanked Thiébaud for hosting the award conferring ceremony. Durrani highlighted her passion for social work, particularly relating to women empowerment.

At the end she signed her book "Happy Things in Sorrow Times" for her friends and well wishers present on the occasion. Diplomats, representatives of media and many friends of Tehmina Durrani attended the reception.