It’s not like we Pakistanis have invented the next fusion reactor that we needed another scandal of suicide of a PhD student by psychological torture.
Nadia Ashraf died because this lawless society does not protect the outnumbered weak – especially the educated.
When you have half the population uneducated, and 44% children out of school, the few Pakistanis that have the love of knowledge are thrown into the meat grinder by unforgiving system of education.
- Also, see What’s holding back Pakistan
It is no coincidence that Pakistan has been led throughout its history by poorly educated generals and semi-literate politicians – an educated and civilized person in Pakistan is considered stupid.
The society is horribly unfavorable toward people that like education and are willing to spend from their own pockets to seek knowledge.
The same poorly educated leaders harass, intimidate, bend the system to their own will and run to the bank with tons of money – leaving knowledge seeker scratching their heads.
- Also, read 10 essential leadership qualities
I will tell you exactly why Nadia Ashraf died by suicide because I have been a PhD student and have faced abuse, harassment, mental agony and humiliation for loving the pursuit of knowledge – which is a sin in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
- Also, read PhD Virus in Pakistan
How can you expect a society to respect new knowledge when most of the population thinks just one book is enough to spend a lifetime following.
What is the evidence against Dr. Iqbal Chaudary and Panjwani Research Center?
Nadia Ashraf said, “Dr. Iqbal Chowdary (of Panjwani Center of Molecular Medicine and Research) will not let me complete my PhD. I do not know what he wants from me”
“When I joined another research institute, Dr. Iqbal tried to have me terminated from there”
I know what the devil wanted from her – slavery and unquestionable obedience – typical of psychopathic tyrants that rule Pakistan.
Higher education in Pakistan is just the reflection of society as a whole – total control.
The poor PhD candidate had been slaving under an un-empathetic, inconsiderate professor that she considered father-like – she was wrong.
The abuse was pronounced because the girl probably did not want to lose another father figure of hers, like the way she had lost her own father.
“She never badmouthed Dr. Iqbal to anyone. She forbade me (brother) not to talk to him, because he would not like it”
Even if the deceased had studied ten new word of molecular biology every day, in 15 years she is bound to have known more about her title compared to Dr. Iqbal, her supervisor.
This is clear evidence that the Supervisor was being nasty and cruel to have handed her over to another less capable supervisor.
Suicide of this PhD student was inevitable
Torture a PhD student goes through
A PhD student must fight the University Administration, the supervisor, the research committee, the crazy fees, the journal paper editors, the years of commute, the research committee, foreign faculty and external examiners – all alone.
Role of Higher Education Commission
Higher Education Commission and University Administration care hoots about why the PhD scholar is under performing or why the scholar is running from pillar to post, for years, to resolve his personal matters, when he should be researching instead.
Professors and University Administration in Pakistan cannot be questioned for their bonded slavery of their students.
There is no system in place for the hapless students to easily remove a harassing professor or University Vice y, Chancellor, in secrecy.
If a poor student out of the need for survival does report against a professor or university, they openly become hostile and terminate the research of the student, with no effect on themselves.
Why does not anyone in Pakistan want to earn a PhD Degree?
I will now tell you exactly why no one wants to do PhD from Pakistan, under local supervisors.
- There are few scholarships available to complete PhD studies and even the ones available have impossibly strict criteria on age, education and grades.
- The total cost of a simple management PhD in Pakistan exceeds Rs 15 lakh, which not many people can afford.
- A PhD candidate must spare at least 8 years of their life to complete the long list of prerequisites – with uncertain outcome
- The litany of unnecessary tests and retests under a committee of researchers that is not always favorable toward the student.
- No one tells PhD scholars that PhD in Pakistan is just the research paper that essentially must be published in an impact factor journal – and waste their time in selfish chores for their professors.
- A lot of time and resources are wasted on useless courses of 18 credit hours that have no bearing toward competition of degree.
- There is a Doctor Qualification Exam that you must clear before starting research in which several professors evaluate your academic knowledge from the useless subjects that you have recently studied.
- After this comes the presentation in front panel of judges, who wield discretionary power to drop the student altogether.
- The supervisor, can if he so desires, can end a PhD dead on its feet, without assigning any valid reason – this goes against norms of a civil society completely.
- After multiple stages of exams in front of a panel of judges whose only interest is to find a slave to publish papers in their name so that they can benefit in tenure-tracking promotions, the student gets to start research.
- When a particular topic does not suit the professor’s personal ambition, the student is summarily rejected or strung on to torture them further.
This is exactly what Dr. Iqbal Chowdary did to Nadia. He wanted to increase his personal profile with the hapless student that may not have agreed to his direction of work.
More PhD Degree Problems
- If by a stroke of luck the student is granted the right to pursue research on his own proposed title, the professor wants his line of work reflect in the research.
- This professor, will now simply vanish from the scene for several months altogether and will expect the student to learn on his own how data is collect and a journal paper published.
- If the poor students do manage to develop a reasonably good paper, no local journal accepts it because it is mostly not according to their own scope as defined by Higher Education Commission.
- The behavior of foreign journal is a lot more positive as compared to Pakistani junk publications.
- The local journal editors are even worse than foreign editors.
- The local ones just want students to make their journal shine, with zero interest in whether the knowledge is useful or not.
- If the student finally does manage to get their paper accepted by a journal of some impact factor, the PhD duration is nearly over.
- If all this is not complete in 8 years, the university terminates the admission.
Roadblocks not PhD Milestones
- Then comes the thesis defense,
- Evaluation of thesis by foreign referees
- Thesis pre final defense
- Thesis defense in front of another panel
- Then wait for HEC’s objections
- The wait a few years for reward of degree
- The PhD Supervisors don’t want another student in Pakistan coming up through the system and challenging their monopoly in the area
- HEC only works for their superiors.
- The officers of HEC don’t entertain any problem of students and refer them back to their universities and professor/
- If the student also works part-time, like Nadia did, that is taken as a negative and is mentioned in the reasons for terminating the PHD after several years.
- If despite this no suicide of PhD student takes place, it is a miracle.
Higher education Commission should realize that just conducting research for a few years alone and cut off from family is enough to make any one go mad.
If the student has conducted reasonable research and has found new knowledge to add to the existing one inside Pakistan, then they should be allowed to gradate as PhD Doctors without delay.
Conclusion on suicide of PhD student
Nadia Ashraf was killed by the callousness of her professor Dr Iqbal Chaudary, her university that didn’t care that she was being harassed as long as Dr Iqbal was slave driving his students to produce publications and the bureaucratic culture of Higher Education Commission in Pakistan and their frivolous requirement for degree completion – in that order.
PhD Scholar Nadia Ashraf – this is a tribute to your courage – you are not forgotten.
For the rest, shame on you for murdering a priceless gem – while multitudes of useless junk revels in ill-gotten wealth and privilege.