Fellow students have called for the authorities to take notice
A Pakistani student from Karachi University took her own life. The incident has caused an uproar as it has been alleged that the PhD student was harassed by a professor.
Nadia Ashraf was a student at the Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Research at Karachi University.
It was reported that she had been working on her PhD for more than 10 years but never completed it as she was allegedly harassed by her thesis supervisor.
It was also alleged that her supervisor would reject her PhD. According to some social media users, her PhD was rejected seven times.
Social media users said that Nadia committed suicide as a result of the harassment she endured.
Fellow students have called for the authorities to take notice and for Nadia’s death to be investigated.
However, the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at the university denied the link between Nadia’s death and the university, calling them “baseless and unfounded”.
A statement said that Nadia began her PhD in 2007 under the supervision of Dr Ameen Suria. When Dr Suria left, Nadia was supervised by Dr Iqbal Choudhary, the accused.
The ICCBS said that Nadia was provided with an opportunity to train in France with other students.
However, the Pakistani student was not able to properly focus on her research due to family and health issues.
It was revealed that she stopped coming to the centre for a few years and instead, starting working at other universities to support her family.
Nadia occasionally visited the centre to meet with her colleagues and supervisor.
It was reported that Nadia suffered from severe depression and would talk about her family issues, including the unexplained disappearance of her father.
She was also worried about her mother’s health as well as her own.
According to the university, Dr Choudhary and the institution extended their support to her.
While Dr Choudhary has been accused of harassing her, the university said that Nadia appreciated the support she received from her supervisor.
Her death trended on Twitter in Pakistan and many have demanded justice.
One person wrote:
“PhD student Nadia Ashraf of Panjwani Center, Karachi University has allegedly committed suicide.”
“Nadia Ashraf used to tell her close friends: ‘Dr Iqbal Chaudhry will not allow me to have a PhD, don’t know what the doctor wants from me’.
“I hope the matter is investigated thoroughly.”
However, some have attempted to shut down speculations.
One person said: “Did Nadia Ashraf say before committing suicide that she has been harassed? What proof do you have? No one can be blamed until the case is decided….”
The matter continues to trend on social media but no action has been taken as of yet.