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Doctoral student commits suicide in Karachi

KARACHI: A PhD student has reportedly committed suicide after her thesis was rejected by her supervisor.
Nadia Ashraf was a doctoral student at Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Research at Karachi University.
She was unable to complete her PhD in the last 15 years and was reportedly harassed by her thesis supervisor Dr Iqbal Chaudhry. She was also suffering from psychological and family issues.
It has also been revealed that Dr Iqbal Chaudhry has appointed faculty member Dr Atiya Wahab to oversee Nadia which had upset her.
Nadia had revealed to her close friends that Chaudhry also tried to terminate her job when she joined another research organisation.
Nadia Ashraf rejoined Panjwani Center, submitted her dissertation with PhD extension but Iqbal Chaudhry asked her to take another six-month extension. Nadia eventually ended up taking her own life.
Centre rejects allegations
The International Centre for Chemical & Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at the University of Karachi has termed news and social media posts linking the suicide of Nadia Ashraf with her PhD at the Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine & Drug Research (PCMD) as “baseless and unfounded”.
The spokesman said Nadia enrolled for her MPhil/PhD in 2007 under the supervision of Dr Ameen Suria but later went under the supervision of Dr Iqbal Chaudhary. The ICCBS said she was provided an opportunity to train in France with other students but was unable to focus on her research due to family issues and personal health.
The spokesman said she stopped coming to the centre for a few years and started working at private universities to support her family, adding that she occasionally visited the centre to meet with her colleagues and supervisor.
The statement claimed that she was severely depressed and frequently mentioned her serious family issues, including the unexplained disappearance of her father a long time ago, and was also concerned about her own health and her mother.
The spokesman said her supervisor and the institution offered maximum support to her on every occasion, adding that her application for an extension of registration was also favourably recommended to facilitate the completion of her PhD.
The statement said she was always appreciative of the support she received from Dr Chaudhary and respected him like her father, adding that Dr Chaudhary had supervised over 100 PhDs and was ranked among the top scientists of the country.
The PCMD management expressed deep sorrow on Nadia’s passing away, saying that if her life had ended due to suicide, it must have been over personal issues, over which the institution had no control.
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