Two teenage boys from PoK, against whom the NIA dropped charges of conspiracy in the Uri terror strike, were on Friday reunited with their families at the Wagah border after spending nearly six months in detention. Faisal Hussain Awan and Ahsan Khursheed had been handed over to the Jammu-based 16 Corps of the army this week after the probe agency came to the conclusion that the two had strayed into the Indian side after a tiff with their parents due to the pressure of studies. Border Security Force handed Awan and Khursheed to the Pakistan Rangers at the Wagah border, where their family members were present to greet them. ‘Extremely happy’“I am extremely happy to see my son among us. I am thankful to the governments of Pakistan and India for the safe release of my son,” Awan’s father told reporters at the Wagah border. He said the families of both the boys had suffered extreme mental pain after they were arrested in India. “The boys crossed over to the Indian side from Kashmir by mistake. Both governments must evolve some mechanism to deal with such cases on humanitarian grounds,” he said. Awan’s brother Abdul Mustafa said Awan will now go back to his school and continue studies. “At times we had lost hope to see Awan among us. We are thankful to God, both governments and the media,” he said. The Army’s unit at Uri had detained the boys and questioned them at length after the September 18 attack on its camp in which 19 personnel were killed. The NIA had said that the evidence collected in the form of statements, technical analysis of their mobile phones, seized GPS devices and other circumstantial evidence collected by the NIA “did not reveal any linkage of the suspects with the Uri attackers“. ‘Acted as guides’The Army had detained the two on September 23, barely days after the terror strike, and claimed that the two had allegedly acted as guides of the four terrorists who carried out the attack on the Uri garrison in North Kashmir. On September 18 last year, four heavily armed militants had stormed the Uri army base camp, killing 19 soldiers and injuring a few others. The NIA had taken over the investigation in the case from the state police. The two youths were arrested by the BSF and the Army in a joint operation.
Jonny Bairstow’s composed 89 helped England survive some atrocious top order shot-making and reach 268 for eight at close of play on the first day of the third Test against India on Saturday. (Scorecard)Alastair Cook won an important toss but the tourists conceded much of the advantage with poor shot selection and could have been in a deeper hole but for India’s poor catching and Bairstow’s dogged resistance.The keeper-batsman featured in 50-plus partnerships with Ben Stokes and the recalled Jos Buttler to revive England, who are 1-0 down in the five-match series. (Day 1 Highlights)Adil Rashid was batting on four at stumps with Gareth Batty, replacing the injured Zafar Ansari, yet to open his account.Wary of batting fourth on a spinning track, Cook asked the hosts to bowl but his top order were unable to vindicate the decision at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.Paceman Umesh Yadav drew first blood when he got Haseeb Hameed caught for nine at gully with a delivery that kicked up off a length.Home captain Virat Kohli introduced spin in the 13th over and Jayant Yadav responded by dismissing Joe Root for 15 in his second over.England’s batting mainstay fluffed a pull shot across the line and was trapped leg-before to a perfectly innocuous delivery from the off-spinner.Cook, meanwhile, led a charmed life at the other end with Ravindra Jadeja failing to pouch an edge and Ravichandran Ashwin spilling a sitter. Mohammed Shami was the luckless bowler on both occasions.Ashwin redeemed himself 10 minutes later with his very first delivery, which Cook edged to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. Cook made 27 but his dismissal came from a rash shot chasing a wide delivery.advertisementShami finally tasted success when he bounced out Moeen Ali for 16 but Bairstow and Stokes steadied the innings with a 57-run stand before another touring batsman decided to throw his wicket away.Stokes, on 29, marched down the pitch to Jadeja only to miss the ball and Patel, replacing the injured Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps, had all the time in the world to whip off the bails.Bairstow teamed up with Buttler to add 69 runs for the sixth wicket in a relatively more productive second session.Buttler fell for 43, when he trotted out to chip Jadeja to Kohli at extra cover in yet another soft dismissal.The right-hander missed his half-century but still scored 25 more runs than Ben Duckett, who he replaced in the side, amassed in his three innings in India.Bairstow got a reprieve when Patel dropped him off Yadav but the off-spinner trapped the batsman lbw with the very next delivery.England reviewed the decision but Bairstow’s 260-minute vigil, during which he faced 177 balls and hit six boundaries, was over.Chris Woakes, replacing the injured Stuart Broad, made 25.
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