'I'll stand firm with my iron brothers,' A Pakistani student in Wuhan

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Pakistani student Muhammad Sultan Irshad has been staying in Hubei University, Wuhan. Feeling safe and well cared for, he told his parents that he would stay put with the 11 million people of Wuhan.

China.org.cn February 20, 2020
By Wang Yiming

For the past few weeks, Pakistani doctoral student Muhammad Sultan Irshad has been writing his research articles in the international dormitory of Hubei University, Wuhan. He came to China to pursue his doctoral study in September last year. After the COVID-19 broke out, he stayed in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, along with hundreds of his Pakistani compatriots.

"I was doing an experiment in my lab and then a very kind staff member of my school told me about the virus. I was surprised by the sense of responsibility of the Chinese people who could behave like one unit in a very short period of time," Sultan told China.org.cn.

"It is an unfortunate and disturbing event. The outbreak of this virus has cost precious human lives," Sultan said. "Every crisis is a check on the resilience of a nation. I chose to stay in Wuhan with an open heart and China has since proved its worth and mettle."

Wuhan city is still in lockdown in an attempt to curb coronavirus transmissions. Though it has caused inconvenience, Sultan felt safe and well cared for in his university. "Hubei University is equipped with all the required necessities. Our university management provides us food and a service to buy things. I cook myself," Sultan said.

Hubei University has provided assistance to help the international students receive basic necessities. The students can order and get the food delivered from the campus supermarket. According to staff, the university has distributed three deliveries of free food to the international students. [Photo provided by Hubei University]

"We are highly optimistic and stand firm with the Chinese nation and we strongly believe in our university management."

Muhammad Sultan Irshad (R) and Huang Yintang pose for photos. Huang, the apartment managing coordinator of Hubei University, stays day and night with the students since the outbreak of the epidemic. [Photo provided to China.org.cn]

Since the founding of relations China and Pakistan have enjoyed a close relationship and the virus has been a chance to exemplify that. So far, the Pakistani government has reportedly sent 300,000 medical masks, 800 hazmat suits and 6,800 pairs of gloves to China. 

"Pakistan stands with the people & govt of China in their difficult & trying time and it will always stand by them," Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted on Feb. 12. "We will be extending every material & moral support to China just as China has always stood by us during all our times of trial and tribulation."

Though he misses his family, Sultan told his parents that he would still stay put. He recalled how he comforted his mother and reassured her by telling that he was taken good care of. She responded by telling him she was proud that he was standing firm with his "iron brother."

Pakistani doctoral student Muhammad Sultan Irshad and his supervisor Professor Wang Xianbao. [Photo provided to China.org.cn]

According to the Chinese embassy in Pakistan on Feb. 12, three Pakistani citizens affected by novel coronavirus in China have been cured and discharged from hospitals in Guangzhou and Shenzhen of Guangdong province.

Sultan has been following the news and commented that, "the response to the virus sends a very clear message to the world: believe in the Chinese government. I also strongly believe in the Chinese people due to their tremendous positivity, self-esteem, dignity, responsibility, and honesty."

A Pakistani student (C) studying in China poses for photos with medical staff after his recovery at Guangzhou 8th People's Hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Feb. 12, 2020. Five foreign COVID-19 patients have so far been cured and discharged from hospital in Guangdong, according to an official with the provincial health commission. [Photo by Wang Yan/Xinhua]

"The world witnessed the efforts of the great Chinese nation. The way it has managed and controlled the outbreak is unprecedented." He said that two people had left a deep impression on him:

Dr. Li Wenliang and nurse Wu Yaling who stayed on the job after hearing devastating news of her mother's death. "We should be thankful to these unbreakable people, especially doctors, nurses, engineers, military and educational institutions."

While in quarantine, Sultan has spent his time conducting his research. He said that the quarantine was a "chance to do something for yourself without any disturbance or distraction."

Amid the quarantine period to curb the COVID-19, Pakistani doctoral student Muhammad Sultan Irshad has been writing his research articles and helping his Chinese friends to improve their English writing skills in the international dormitory of Hubei University, Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. [Photo provided to China.org.cn]

When asked about what Sultan wanted to do after the epidemic subsides, he said, "I will go first to my lab and do the experiment I have designed. And one more thing, I will sing for the Wuhan people."

He wrote a poem to extend his good wishes to Wuhan.

O My Glorious Wuhan

Sure, you will get well soon!

May your Hanjie and Jianghan streets get rush again!

May your people be busy again!

O My glorious Wuhan!

Sure, you will get well soon!

May the cherry blossom parks' birds chirp soon!

May the plum and metasequoia blossom at noon! 

O My glorious Wuhan!

Sure, you will get well soon!

May East Lake water flow with happy noise!

May lonely ducks sing songs in beautiful voices!

O My glorious Wuhan!

Sultan, my Wuhan will get well soon!

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