Pakistan will become a colony of China once the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — flagship project under the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative is operationalised, contended top Pak political economist S Akbar Zaidi on the very day the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit praised Beijing’s mega connectivity plan.
In a lecture titled “Has China taken over Pakistan” organised in Kolkata by think tank ‘Calcutta Research Group’ on Friday night Zaidi noted that the CPEC initiative is the most discussed but the least transparent among all the foreign initiatives in Pakistan.
“It is indeed a game changer, but not in the way our ruling classes have projected it to be. It will enslave Pakistan and undermine its sovereignty,” alleged Zaidi author of pioneering books –‘Military Civil Society and democratisation in Pakistan’ and ‘Issues in Pakistan’s Economy’.
“CPEC is a part of China’s OBOR initiative to expand its influence in the world and Pakistan is just the geographical space used by Beijing to reach the warm waters of the Persian Gulf. But in the process, Beijing blueprint will ensure complete control over Pakistan,” Zaidi further alleged.
Incidentally Zaidi’s comments came on the very day when SCO praised China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India, which went to the Summit as an observer and became a member, however, was not party to the final Summit document on this occasion. CPEC is the very project that has irked India as it passes through PoK besides the fact that OBOR or BRI initiative lacks transparency and is being implemented in a unilateral fashion.
Speaking at SCO Summit PM Narendra Modi took a dig at connectivity projects that infringes on sovereignty. Zaidi quoted Pak Senator Tahir Mashhadi, chairman of the standing committee on planning and development, who had described the CPEC corridor as the advent of “another East India Company is in the offing.” China has announced to invest whopping $ 62 bn in CPEC.
The most dangerous implication of the CPEC would be that Pakistan’s foreign relations, especially those with India, will be determined by the Chinese, the Pak scholar warned. “Pakistan’s obsession with China and CPEC will prevent any rapprochement between India and Pakistan unless the Chinese themselves initiate such a process and that they would do only if that fits into their grand design in the region. With China taking over Pakistan, providing it with undisclosed amount of investments, any argument of increasing trade and economic cooperation between India and Pakistan lose out completely.” Zaidi blamed the Pakistani ruling elite for leading the country down the path of enslavement.
“Our ruling classes, especially the military, have first lived with the influence of US imperialism, then allowed unusual degree of Saudi intrusion in domestic, cultural and social affairs. Now they have prostrated themselves before Chinese imperial designs.”