Manto was known for his acclaimed short stories, particularly those which spoke on the impact of partition in the sub-continent in 1947. Many a times, he had annoyed the Pakistani conservatives for his frank style of writing and faced charges of obscenity thrice. He left for Lahore in 1948 after earning fame in screenwriting in Mumbai. He died at the age of 42 due to liver cirrhosis caused by excessive alcoholism.
Renowned singer Mehdi Hassan, popularly called the Shahenshah-e-Ghazal, too, was posthumously honoured with the award. Hassan breathed his last in June at the age of 84 after a prolonged illness. Rights activist Abdul Sattar Edhi, Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Kidwai and late Munir Ahmed Khan were the other recipients of the Nishan-i-Imtiaz.
Edhi runs Pakistan's largest charity organisation, Kidwai is the head of the Strategic Plans Division that manages Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and Khan was a former head of the country's Atomic Energy Commission. The Pakistani presidency announced the awards on the eve of Pakistan's Independence Day.
Nearly, 200 people were honoured with civilian awards for their contributions in fields like arts and literature, nuclear science, public service, healthcare, sports and education.