Two Pakistanis picked by the Indian Army for alleged facilitation of the Uri Attack in September that killed 19 Indian soldiers are actually class 10 students.

The boys who lived in a village located at an hour’s walk away from the Line of Control strayed across the border, the Indian Express reported.

The two school friends Ahsan Khursheed and Faisal Husain Awan were arrested on September 21, three days after the Uri Attack, where militants attacked an Indian army base in occupied Kashmir. The Indian Foreign Ministry had said that the two boys had confessed to facilitating the terror attack.

Faisal’s brother Ghullam Mustafa Tabassum, a doctor by profession, said that Faisal was at home on September 17, the date when Indian agencies claim terrorists crossed the border into India.

“I don’t want any controversy or recrimination,” Tabassum said, speaking to the Indian Express, “which is why I hadn’t contacted the media. I am his older brother, and I am supposed to protect him. I do not know what to do. I can only hope someone powerful in India reads our story and sends these boys home.”

Their school principal Basharat Husain in Muzaffarabad said both boys were 16-year-olds and had just graduated from class 1X at the school. He added that, Faisal in particular was extremely well-behaved.

“I did not know the two were friends,” Husain said, “but it is not surprising, given that they were in the same school, and from similar backgrounds.”

Families distressed

Faisal’s mother Zeero Begum is distraught. “She wakes up suddenly, crying and asking us to find out how he is,” Tabassum said. “It is very hard on her, because Faisal, being the youngest in the family, is loved the most.”

Gul Akbar, Faisal’s father a carpenter is too old to work.

Ahsan Khurshid’s mother, Tabassum said, has not spoken at all since she learned of his arrest. His father, a cook, works in Saudi Arabia.

Tabassum said that Faisal chose not to go to school on Septmeber 20 as he overslept. Later in the afternoon, he went to Pir Kanth shrine nearby. He claims that the boys may have lost their way and ended up crossing the border.

Accidental crossing of the LoC is not unheard of, and people on both sides of the border sometimes lose their way.

The family filed a police complaint on September 22.