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By Our Correspondent: Columbia and Karachi university political economist S Akbar Zaidi has contended that Pakistan will become a colony of China once the CPEC corridor is implemented. Prof S Akbar Zaidi recently said in Kolkata that the growing dependence on Chinese investment in Pakistan had cast a shadow on Indo-Pak trade prospects as well. "Currently, the official bilateral trade is stuck at around USD 2.1 billion and I don't see it going to double in the next five years when Pakistan thinks China is the best friend," Zaidi said on the sidelines of his lecture at the Bengal Chamber here. He believed that the prospect for Indo-Pak bilateral trade was of USD 10 billion. "With Pakistan treating China as its best friend and putting all eggs in one basket which is unfortunate, I don't see trade is going up" Zaidi said. Talking about the CPEC corridor, Zaidi said: "It 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 quoted Senator Tahir Mashhadi, chairman of the standing committee on planning anddevelopment, who had described the CPEC corridor as the advent of “another East India Company isin the offing.” The most dangerous fallout of the CPEC corridor, he said, would be that Pakistan's foreign relations,especially those with India, will be determined by the Chinese. He indicated that as US cutting aids since the last few years and China's aggressive investment plans in Pakistan, his country was moving close toward the dragon country. He said though official trade with India was about USD 2.1 billion, unofficial and via third country it was about USD four billion, Zaidi said. He said, now more Pakistani students were studying in China than in the US. He said Pakistan was expected to gain from the investments from China of worth USD 56 billion in infrastructure, but warned that prostrating before China under the guise of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) might lead to potential debt problems. In both Sri Lanka and Tajikistan, with rising costs and debts incurred by the host countries, a large chunk of land was handed over to the Chinese in lieu of unpaid funds, Zaidi said.
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