Like every year, this year too national awards distribution ceremony was held at President House on March 23, 2012. During the ceremony Defence and Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi informed the award holders and dignitaries that according to the 1973 Constitution and Decoration Act 1975, President of Pakistan distributes national awards every year among persons who show outstanding performances in their respective fields which include nursing, sports, research, medicine, engineering, philosophy, history, human rights, courage, bravery, etc. Other than this, the Pride of Performance Award is awarded in the fields of art, literature, science etc. The announcement for the civil awards is made every year on the occasion of 14th August and awards are distributed by President of Pakistan and provincial governors in the capital city and in the respective provincial capitals.
This year's ceremony was attended by Chairman Senate Nayyar Bukhari, Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza, federal ministers, consul generals of different countries, federal secretaries, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shamim Wynne, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt amongst others.
During the ceremony President Asif Ali Zardari awarded 93 personalities with the highest civil awards. The ceremony started with the national anthem and recitation of the Holy Quran and its translation in English and Urdu. After the formal beginning of the ceremony, Nargis Sethi asked for the permission of the President to distribute awards among the relatives of army men who had lost their lives for the safety of Pakistan. After a short break, the ceremony continued with the distribution of civil awards.
The first civil award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz (after death) was given to Begum Nusrat Bhutto (late) which was received by Sanam Bhutto. Nishan-e-Imtiaz (after death) for former governor Punjab Salman Taseer was received by his widow Amna Taseer. Then Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Secretary General to the President Muhammad Salman Farooqui were awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz.
Saudi envoy to Pakistan H.E. Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer was awarded Hilal-e-Pakistan award.
People who received Hilal-e-Imtiaz included Oscar award winning film director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; Chairperson of Benazir Income Support Programme Farzana Raja; Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal Zamurrud Khan;
President's Spokesman Farhatullah Babar, Sultan Ali Lakhani, Mian Amir Mehmood, Prof. Waris Mir (late), Prof. Dr. Wadal Shah (late), Former Editor of Urdu Weekly Akhbar-e-Jehan and columnist of Daily Jang, Nazeer Ahmad Naji and Defence and Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi.
Recipients of Sitara-e-Imtiaz included Nasira Wazir Ali, Sikandar Ahmed Roy, Ghulam Murtaza Solangi, Sohail Ahmed Rana, Zahid Malik, Dr. Zaheer Ahmed (late), Burhan Kayaturk, Gauhar Ejaz, Jamil Ahmed Khan and Resident Editor Daily Jang Rawalpindi Hanif Khalid and Hafiz Tahir Khalil.
Adnan bin Mohammad Amin Katib and Dr. Muhammad Farqad Alamgir were awarded Sitara-e-Pakistan whereas Abdul Aziz Bullo Shaheed was given Sitara-e-Shujaat.
Presidential award for Pride of Performance included film star Meera (Irtaza Rubab), TV actor Muhammad Noman Ejaz, actor and director Javed Sheikh, Mohammad Azmat Shigeyuki Ataka and W.A.Tai.
Jamaluddin Shaheed, Abdul Kabir Khan Shaheed, Abdul Rasheed Khan, Saeed Ahmed Khan, Abdullah Jan Tareen Shaheed, Asif Rehman Khan, Irshad Ali Raza, Gulfat Hussain Shaheed, Shazia Gul (late), Shah Iran Shaheed, Ighdali San, Muhammad Hussain Shaheed, Muhammad Tariq, Major (retd) Dawar bin Zahoor, Lt. (retd) Muhammad Athar Iqbal (Pak Navy), Kachkol Khan Shaheed, Haji Saleem Khan Shaheed, Sadiq Ameen Shaheed, Ataullah Shaheed, Fariduddin Shaheed, Shamshad Begum Shaheed, Wesal Khan Shaheed, Malik Manasib Khan Shaheed, Malik Fazal Mannan Shaheed and Muhammad Naveed Younis Shaheed were awarded Tamgha-e-Shujaat.
People who were awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz included Syed Javed Hasnain Kazmi, Abdul Jabbar Bhutto, Lt. (retd) Maqsood Ahmed, Ishtiaq Baig, Malik Muhammad Asif and Rehan Ali Merchant.