ISLAMABAD - President of Italy Sergio Mattarella on Tuesday conferred Knighthood award on The Nation’s Special Correspondent Shafqat Ali.

Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese decorated Shafqat Ali with Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Order of the Star of Italy) at a ceremony organised at his official residence in the presence of lawmakers, journalists and distinguished guests. The Ambassador’s wife Albana Ferrarese presented the award which was then decorated by the envoy.

The Order of the Star of Italy was formed in 2011. The order was reformed from the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity by the 11th President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.

The emphasis of the reformed award was shifted from post-war reconstruction to the preservation and promotion of national prestige abroad, promoting friendly relations and co-operation with other countries and ties with Italy.

This distinction, which qualifies as a second civilian honour of the State, represents a particular honour on behalf of all those, Italians abroad or foreigners, who have acquired special merit in the promotion of friendly relations and cooperation between Italy and other countries and the promotion of ties with Italy.

The reasons for granting leave the original connotation of the same post-war award and become more responsive to current realities, whereas, according to the initial setting, it was granted to those who, Italians abroad or foreigners, have especially contributed to the reconstruction of Italy.

In particular, the nomination conferring the honour, are considered to have supported the preservation and promotion of national prestige abroad, which translates in various activities, such as the promotion of the Italian language, volunteering and charitable, philanthropic activities, participation in community life of communities abroad, the scientific and technological research, the pastoral missions, commercial enterprises and the promotion of food.

The order is conferred by the President of the Republic on the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, after consulting the Council of the Order, which shall be chaired by the Minister himself and is composed of four members, one of which is by law the Head of the Diplomatic Protocol of the Republic.

A further innovation is the order of the classes, which increased from three to five: Knight Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Knight, plus the special class of the Grand Cross of Honour.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Andreas Ferrarese said that Shafqat Ali had supported Pakistan-Italy friendship.

He highlighted the points which eventually convinced President of Italy Sergio Mattarella to confer the prestigious award to the Pakistani journalist.

Ambassador Ferrarese said that Pakistan and Italy are great friends and support each other. He pointed out that a lot of Pakistanis are contributing to Italy’s progress in Italy.

The envoy said that the award was given to the foreigners who demonstrate special efforts for highlighting Italy’s positiveties and support bilateral ties.

In their remarks Senator Mushahid Hussain and Farhatullah Babar acknowledged the services of Shafqat Ali in the field of media. They congratulated him on winning the prestigious award.

They mentioned the historical friendly ties between Pakistan and Italy and commended Ambassador Andreas Ferrarese’s efforts for strengthening the Pakistan-Italy relations.