Muzaffar Baig.. Image Source: IANS News

Srinagar, Jan 26 : Muzaffar Baig, the former PDP minister, is among this year's Bhadma Bhushan awardees. Baig was the first mainstream politicians who hinted at moving on after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

He has been picking for the implementation of Article 371 in Jammu and Kashmir to preserve its unique identities and for safeguarding the domicile and land rights for its citizens.

In an exclusive interview with IANS after the announcement of Padma Bhushan Awards, Baig said that he wasn't expecting the award. I was pleasantly surprised when we got call on Saturday evening informing him about the award, he said.

"Any award makes a person happy, I was surprised, I got this award at a time when people of J&K are faced with a difficult situation," Baig said.

"This shows, the Centre has not forgotten J&K but is keeping an eye on it." He said, he is thankful to the panel that made the selection.

"I don't get very excited on hearing a good news or I don't get sad on hearing a bad news. It's just normal, I feel the same I was feeling yesterday," he said.

Baig said, he had given an interview two months back demanding the release of all former chief ministers and mainstream leaders who have given sacrifices and contested elections.

He said, he hoped that all the politicians and detained leaders will be released before the award ceremony takes place.

"We can sit together and talk about a dialogue with the Centre within the Constitution of India only after the detained leaders are released," Baig said.

"The dialogue process will carry weight when all of are together and a consensus is evolved," he said.

(Zaffar Iqbal can be contacted at

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