ISLAMABAD - The slain leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and a Swedish poet, Peter Curman, were conferred the first ever Quaid-i-Awam International Award for Democracy 2008, and Quad-i-Azam International Award for Literature 2008 respectively. Pakistan Academy of Letter (PAL) announced the awards at a ceremony here on Thursday in which Presidential Spokesman Farhatullah Babar received the award on behalf of the Bhutto family while Peter Curman himself received his award. Both the award winners were also given prize money of Rs. 2 million each. Farhatullah Babar read out the written message of President Asif Ali Zardari on this occasion. President Zardari in his message congratulated the PAL and its Chairman Fakhar Zaman for organizing the first ever award distribution ceremony of this kind as well as Peter Curman for being the first ever recipient of the award. In his message, he said that Peter Curman was a poet of a generation that had seen so much strife and conflict but was not disillusioned and refused to give up hope. He further said that poet was not discouraged by the lost efforts of mankind that seemed to have failed to bear fruit and, like Iqbal, he believed in constant struggle. He further said that he wished to facilitate all the democracy loving people of Pakistan for the conferment of the award of Quaid-i-Awam Award for Democracy 2008 on the martyrdom of democracy, Benazir Bhutto. He asked that who could deserve this award more than her, who like her father willingly and knowingly laid down her life for the cause of democracy. The President in his message said that literature and democracy were two distinctly different areas of human thought and activities but yet there was a thread to connect the both. Both promote the diversity and plurality as great literature can flourish only in true democracy that is tolerant to the expression of divergent views, he maintained. Chairman PAL Fakhuruzaman said that Benazir Bhutto in 1995 had announced the institution of these two awards while inaugurating the International Conference of Writers but no one knew that she herself would be conferred that award after her assassination. Peter Curman, the Swedish poet, brought out his first collection of poetry, Obs Viktigt, in 1965 and has written more than a dozen books of poetry, criticism and anthologies. He has also published Metdown (1998) described as, A Novel about Love and has translated John Lennons lyrics into Swedish. He is boldly optimistic in the face of the sorrows of his life and love, courage of conviction, and hope are the cardinal points of his poetic faith. He is also called the poet of peace, as his poetry for peace is not limited to any specific area of the world but is for the entire world. His poetry includes peace and human values and appeals to South Asians, as his poetry reflects the issues of South Asia while using the techniques of western poetry.