13 Feb, 2020, in a southwest city of Balochistan, a vehicle is carrying an armed and weaponized mob. The gang roaming freely down the city stops before a mud house. One of the armed people opens fire and targets a young boy aged 22 years, a student of BS Zoology. The bullets sieve the chest of the victim. His mother cries, comes forward and holds her son. Her son takes his last, deep and irregular breaths in her lap. Public witnesses the tragic incident. People call for arrest of the killer but the police rejects it saying that they can go nowhere. Who is the murdered young boy? Who are the killers? Why did it happen? Why didn’t police catch them? And many more questions connected to this heartrending tantrum popped up in people’s minds. Some of them are still unanswered but the rest are clear in the drop scene of this tragedy being presented here.
Samiullah Mengal was a BS student of University of Balochistan. He belonged to a humble family of Nushki. The cap of his brilliant educational career was full with feathers of excellence. His poor father is a labourer who raised his son as an icon of hope not only for him but for the entire nation. He emerged as a young leader with undeniable potentials. Soon, he became a symbol of social activism. Keeping this picture of Sami Mengal in background, it is not difficult to deem his social status and importance.
On 15 Nov, 2020, the commissioner Rakhshan Division called an open court. As part of his social responsibility, Samiullah Mengal recorded his complaint against drug dealers before the commissioner at Nushki, Balochistan. The commissioner ordered inquiry about the case. The drug dealers started using their covert and overt means to neutralize the crucial stance which had threatened the survival of their heinous crime. Moreover, it was the time when speaking out against drug trafficking and dealing was not anywhere close the norm. The clouds of fear didn’t allow anyone to challenge this colossal predicament. When every effort of drug dealers failed, they flocked to the home of Shaheed Samiullah Mengal and murdered the benchmark of courage and endurance and escaped safely as narrated in the beginning.
The tragic incident was a huge blow on the peace of the province in general and shattered the harmony in the district in particular. The escape of the killers in light of the day gave birth to very serious questions. It fuelled the unrest and fanned the flames of dissention. People took to the streets and a new chapter of rallies, lockdown strikes and social media outcry began. A wave of condemnation prevailed across the social and political spectrum. It shook the slumbering conscience of the public. Holding the placards of “I am Samiullah Mengal”; young students took the sacred oath of eradicating drugs from society and calling for justice. They demanded conversion of the notorious drug dealing centres into educational institutions. With every passing day, the uncertainty and urgency increased. Understanding the delicate grounds, the highest authorities of the province assured the mourners that the culprits would be brought to book immediately. They recognized the heroism of the martyred and promised that he would be declared as a ‘national martyred’. These assurances were timely relief but the agony demanded remedy through accountability of the culprits which prolonged with each passing day, week, month and now ‘a year’.
It paints a very sorry picture that from February 2020 to February 2021, an entire year has passed but the murderers couldn’t be caught by the collar. Instead of conferring the martyred with honours, his people are begging for justice till the day.
Among the chaos created due to delaying justice, certain activities which are positively altering the scene are growing optimism. The flag bearers of this great mission left no stone unturned to live up to the dreams of their hero, i.e., ‘establishing a drug free healthy society’ and kept the call for accountability of the culprits always high. Social awareness regarding drugs and their hazards is touching new pinnacles. The young generation is particularly concerned, conscious and confident about their position in this struggle. The month of February has been attributed to Samiullah Mengal and his mission. Social activism in the form of solidarity walks, poetry sessions, seminars and public concerts to pay tribute to the martyred and uphold his great cause are broadening the horizons of ‘the change’ that began from a single soul. It is expected to go long way (InShaAllah).
The great outcomes of drug eradication mission are very encouraging, but the sad part of the story is still so even after a year. Where are the culprits? How did they escape safely? Will justice be served? If yes, then how much time it will require? If not, then who will correct these blind-spots? The questions which erupted on 13 Feb, 2020 are still demanding answers. With every passing moment, these questions increase and demand answers more vehemently. The bleak prospects of justice lie behind the heap of questions.
The writer is a MBBs student at King Edward Medical University Lahore. He can be reached at