Dubai: An engineering student in Faisalabad, Pakistan committed suicide on Thursday, which started a conversation on social media about the education system in the country.
Saifullah Jamali, a student of chemical engineering at the NFC Institute of Engineering and Fertiliser Research (IEFR), shot himself in front of the university gates, as stated in a report published by Pakistan Today, a Pakistan-based English newspaper. The news was also shared by one of the Facebook pages associated with the university, NFC IE&FR Young Professionals Network - YPN.
They wrote: “Saifullah Jamali student of final year chemical department committed suicide on October 4, 2018. May his soul rest in peace. Please pray for this brother who is no more with us.”
This immediately lead to a backlash against the institute. It all began when the student’s cousin blamed the university for his death.
On his Facebook page, Noor Ahmad Jamali wrote: “Saifullah Jamali my cousin/brother/friend committed suicide due to a teacher, who often repeatedly disrespected him and repeatedly failed him. #WewantJustice
It is my request to all students, civil society and human activists, please raise your voice against this act of university administration.”
The messages of support started pouring in for the student, with many social media users asking for justice.
Tweep @SohrabBaluch wrote: “Saifullah Jamali is a victim of corrupt education system...”
@sarbazbaloch36 tweeted: “Saifullah Jamali committed suicide in Faisalabad. You can’t bring him back to life but if high authority really want to give him justice, they should change this torture educational system. #JusticeforStudents”
Tweep @DrAbdulAziz32 wrote: “This is not suicide but murder. Must be investigated.”
Ghaffar Butt wrote on Facebook: “People who come from distant areas just to get a degree and suffer mental torture at your hands. This issue needs to be addressed and you people need to fix yourself otherwise people will do these things on daily basis.”
Bilal Azam Chattha posted on Facebook: “Issue must be investigated by independent law enforcement agencies. It should also involve the parents of the deceased. I suspect both parents and university administration tortured him mentally for whatever reason he was expelled for. There are more stake holders in it than just egoistic professors. The results of this case should serve as a benchmark for professors, admin, parents and teacher to take self analysis. Is your degree more important than your life?”
A lot of social media users have been sharing images of a notice of expulsion issued by the university against Jamali. The university has, however, posted a note on their Facebook page, requesting people not to spread false news about the incident.
It read: “It is requested that please stop propagating false news about suicide of Saifullah.”
They have also issued a notice of condolence, which read: “We faculty and administration feel deep sorrow at the sad incident of Mr Saifullah Jamali. May Allah rest his soul in peace.”
Following several accusations about the student being expelled, a comment appeared on the university’s Facebook page by a student named Zain Khan, which read: “I had a conversation with some university officials, they told me that there was no issue regarding his studies. His father was also called by the university administration to discuss the matter two days ago. His father was requested to take him home.”
While there is still no clarification about why the student was expelled, or if it is even a valid letter, an eye witness account of the incident also appeared on Facebook.
Rizwan Shah, who according to the report in Pakistan Today is a professor at the university, shared a post on his personal Facebook page highlighting the incident.
He wrote: “I listened to the sound of a gun shot near NFC Faisalabad’s main gate. I go out of the gate, see this student... He had a pistol in his hands.”
He goes on to state that he called for help on 1122, the helpline number for Punjab Emergency Services, who refused to assist. He was redirected to 15, the police helpline number, which was never answered.
He also posted an image of a suicide note left behind by Jamali, which urges the authorities to not investigate his death.