Pakistani students and teachers have fond memories of the three Chinese tutors who were killed in a terror attack in Karachi this week.
Huang Guiping, the director of China’s Confucius Institute in Karachi, was a founding member and had joined the institute since its inception in 2013.
On Tuesday, three Chinese tutors and a Pakistani driver were killed in a suicide bombing at the gate of the institute by a female bomber. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has vowed to thoroughly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.
For many students, Guiping was not only a tutor but also a good friend. The first word he taught students, as they enrolled, was “ni hao”, which means “hello” in Mandarin.
“When I joined the educational institute, I thought Mandarin would be a difficult language,” said Danish, a student, “I was sure I would not last long and would soon drop out.”
But Danish says he was surprised to learn the language within a month due to the dedication of the Chinese educators. The most encouraging of all of them was Guiping, he told Geo.tv.
The second uphill task was to learn “pinyin”, the standard Mandarin Chinese alphabet. However, Guiping made it easier for him, and the other students, by using images and pictures to help them remember the alphabet.
Now, Danish can introduce himself in Mandarin. He was also awarded a gold medal by the director for his achievements.
Yan Dongliang, who taught at the institute, said that he feels like he has lost three family members. Dongliang remembers Guiping as a very kind person, who would help and support the people around him.
He told a Chinese news agency that he was in the office when the incident happened. Hearing the sound of an explosion, Dongliang immediately ran downstairs.
On finding the Confucius Institute’s car on fire, Dongliang immediately began to search for a fire extinguisher. “But the fire was too big to put out,” he said.
A Pakistani teacher, who chose not to be named, told Geo.tv that when students, who had scored high marks and got admission to a Chinese university were about to leave, Guiping would say: “Long live Pakistan and China’s friendship” in Mandarin.
For the teacher, the Chinese tutors at the institute were like family, and the students would often make Pakistani dishes, such as haleem and nihari for them on the weekend. While their educators shared with the youngsters Chinese noodles and green tea, the teacher recalled.
As per the policy of the Chinese government, teachers can only stay outside China for a certain period of time. Guiping has earlier returned to China but came back just a month before the suicide bombing that killed him.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
Another teacher, Chen Sai, who was also killed in the bombing, had arrived in Pakistan eleven months back to teach as a volunteer at the institute.
Ding Mupeng had been teaching at the institute since 2019 but had returned to China due to the pandemic. She landed back in Pakistan in 2021 and was to get married this year.