Grammy award winner Arooj Aftab was given President’s Pride of Performance award on the 76th Independence Day of Pakistan in a ceremony held in Washington. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan decorated the internationally recognised Pakistani-American vocalist, music composer and producer with the prestigious award. Aftab, 38, was the first Pakistani woman to ever win a Grammy in 2022, a major annual American entertainment award. Her music style includes fusion jazz and neo-sufi. She sang Hafeez Hoshiarpuri’s ghazal, “Mohabbat Karne Wale Kam Na Honge…”, in the Best Global Performance category. “In recognition of her outstanding contribution in promoting Pakistani music tradition in the United States and across the globe, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has conferred on Ms Arooj Aftab the President’s Pride of performance award,” said the citation read in a ceremony held on the occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day. Ambassador Masood Khan underscored her role in bringing the people of two countries closer to each other through the power of music, saying that diplomacy and interstate relations were all about perceptions and Aftab has helped change the perception of Pakistan. “Pakistanis love music. There are no restrictions on music,” the ambassador said. Thanking the government of Pakistan, 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”. Terming the award as a matter of pride and a source of inspiration for other female artists of the country, she said that 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. She also thanked her parents for their continued support to her. Born to Pakistani parents in Saudi Arabia, Aftab spent her teenage years in Lahore.