Pakistani-American singer Arooj Aftab, who won her first Grammy award for her song “Mohabbat” in 2022, was honoured with the “President’s Pride of Performance” award on the 77th Independence Day of Pakistan in Washington on Monday.
The decoration was presented to Aftab by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Masood Khan.
Aftab is an internationally recognised vocalist, music composer, and producer, currently residing in the United States.
She is known for her fusion jazz and neo-sufi music style
“In recognition of her outstanding contribution to promoting Pakistani music tradition in the United States and across the globe, the President of Pakistan has conferred on Arooj Aftab the President’s Pride of performance award,” said the citation read on the occasion.
Ambassador Masood commended Aftab’s work in promoting and changing perceptions of Pakistani culture abroad. According to him, “diplomacy and interstate relations are all about perceptions”, and Aftab has contributed significantly to shifting these through her music.
“Pakistanis love music. There are no restrictions on music,” he added.
Thanking the Ambassador and the Pakistani government for the award, Aftab said that it was a good moment to acknowledge that literature, poetry, and music have been an integral part of our identity as Pakistanis.
Pakistanis, she said, were very romantic people.
Accepting the award, Aftab stated, “it was a bright day for Pakistani female musicians”.
On the occasion, Aftab also thanked and paid tribute to legendary female Pakistani singers, from Mukhtar Begum to Abida Parveen.
“I don’t think I would be standing here if it wasn’t for them,” she said.
Aftab also expressed gratitude towards her parents for their unwavering support throughout her journey.