Izhar Ahmed, an academic at Islamia University Peshawar, was selected on merit for PhD studies in botany at the University of York in the United Kingdom, encouraged by Pakistan's Faculty Development Programme to improve his academic qualifications. He succeeded in securing a government scholarship - but has now learned that he will not receive the money, the result of a severe cutback in higher education funding this year.
He says he was told: "We don't have money at the moment. You can wait or go ahead if you can afford it yourself."
Ahmed went ahead, joining the university at his own expense, believing the funding issue would be resolved soon.
"I thought it was a promise by the government and never expected they would backtrack from their commitment. I have spent money myself for the current semester and spent money from my own pocket for my travel, visa and boarding arrangements. And now they tell me we have no money," a dejected Ahmed told University World News.
Other students and teachers who had qualified for state-sponsored studies in different countries such as UK, US, China, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands, have also not received their scholarships.