Yasin Malik said, "(Information minister) Sheikh Rashid has played a great role for Kashmir's liberation. He used to support the frontline jehadis from Kashmir, but few know of his contributions." Perhaps, in the euphoria of reliving the past, or overwhelmed by gratitude (or, indeed, pique), Yasin went on to spell out the Sheikh's role in Kashmir's militant movement: it was at the information minister's farmhouse that some 3,500 Kashmiri jehadis, including Yasin, received training in arms. From the reformed militant leader's perspective, there obviously couldn't have been a better compliment to shower on another Kashmiri before an august audience. But the politician in the irrepressible Sheikh realised that even in these days of Indo-Pak bonhomie, it isn't possible to accept as minister a man who could have trained 3,500 militants. When journalists questioned him, he tersely remarked, "I have no idea about which Sheikh Rashid he (Yasin) is speaking."
This prompted the newshounds to turn to Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, who's known to have close links with the Kashmiri leadership and attained fame for his interview with Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Mir said, "Yes, according to the information I have, Sheikh Rashid's Rawalpindi farmhouse was dubbed Freedom House and used to be a hub of Kashmiri activists belonging to the JKLF. The camp was operational from 1988-90 to train JKLF cadres and Sheikh Rashid accompanied JKLF leaders, including Yasin, to the LoC several times. The camp's existence was known to high officials in Islamabad."