Chinese teachers at the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi have left for their home country, the director of the department has confirmed. The director said that the Chinese teachers at different Confucius Institutes throughout Pakistan, not just the Karachi branch, have been called back home. He also said that the institutions will not be closed and added that Pakistani teachers have been asked to help in teaching Mandarin in the institutions.
The Confucius Institute was jointly established by the University of Karachi and the Sichuan Normal University, China, in 2013. Since then, the institute has taught thousands of students. More than 500 students are currently enrolled in the institute.
China claims that the institute is a non-profit organization which aims to teach Mandarin, deepen international understanding of the language and Chinese culture and promote people-to-people exchange between China and Pakistan.
Experts and analysts, however, believe that the Confucius Institute is a propaganda tool financed by China to promote its international image. The United States of America has also designated the chain of Confucius Institutes all around the world a propaganda tool which employs high-profile members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party as teachers.
The Confucius Institute was targeted in an explosion by the Baloch Liberation Army on April 26. The attack, which killed four, including three Chinse nationals, was carried out by Shari Baloch, the first female fidayee of BLA’a Majeed Brigade. BLA said in a media statement that such attacks will continue until the Chinese presence in Balochistan ends.
The suicide attack targeting Chinese nationals garnered international attention. China and Pakistan officially condemned the attack and said that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Pakistan also launched an investigation into the attack in an attempt to corner the culprits, but the it has so far yielded no results. China also expressed distrust in the security of its nationals in Pakistan.
In several statements after the attack, China and Pakistan said that the attack will not tarnish the relationship between the two countries in any way. But the closure of the Confucius Institute points in another direction and has prompted analysts and experts to ask the question: Is china reconsidering its relationship with Pakistan and revisiting its presence in Balochistan?