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December 14, 2019

No need to go into US, Chinese camp: Dr Hoodbhoy


December 14, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Dr Pervaiz Amirali Hoodbhoy, former Professor Quaid-i-Azam University has said that we must develop ourselves and there is no need to go into US or Chinese camp.

Dr Hoodbhoy was answering questions at seminar on “CPEC: another East India Company in the making?” to Senior Journalists Forum at National Press Club here on Friday. Veteran journalist M Ziauddin was in the chair.

Dr Hoodbhoy said that we can benefit from the Corridor but then we will have to change our system. He said that we can benefit from the Corridor if we retain our control on Gwadar and get standard toll tax and no unusual concession is given.

Earlier in his talk, he said that many details of agreement with China are not disclosed. He said most of the work in the project will be performed by Chinese workers. He said there will be minimal toll tax on Chinese consignments and we will not earn much on that account. He said that Pakistan divulged the details about CPEC to IMF on pressure. He said that Pakistan is importing low technology products also from China and small industry is on the decline. He said Chinese cannot buy land in China but now are buying large quantities of agriculture land in Pakistan and they will grow the agri-products of their choice cheaply and take to China. He said that now Chinese go to clean energy like solar and windmills but erecting coal-based electric power plants in Pakistan. He said we are only importers of nuclear technology from China in the world.

Dr Hoodbhoy said that CPEC will go in our benefit or not, we do not know as information is held back. He said that after Chairperson of the CPEC is a Lieutenant General any hope to get any information now is a far cry. He said we must keep our eyes open.

In the question hour, he recalled Sir Thomas Roe who in the name of trade brought British imperialism during Emperor Jahangir’s era.

He said that many companies blacklisted in China had been allowed to work in CPEC. He said we can benefit from $62 billion or more if there is transparency in the transaction which otherwise is not in our political culture but people have a right to know. A participant said that from Establishment to all major political parties whether in government or opposition are in its favour. Answering a question, Dr Hoodbhoy said that Beijing is not exporting its ideology which otherwise also is reduced to promoting trade and economics.

Journalist Shahidur Rehman said that we were interested in expanding the route otherwise China was only interested in paying toll tax for its consignments going abroad through Gwadar. He said China wanted access to warm waters which can benefit if their route in South China Sea is plugged.

Dr Hoodbhoy said that we cannot put our windmill power on national grid because of our agreements with power companies generating through fossil fuels. One participant feared that instead of socialism, there is danger of more authoritarianism and one-party rule. Another participant said that most of scholarships offered to Pakistan government were not utilised due to disinterest of bureaucracy. Replying a question, Dr Hoodbhoy said that all dictatorial elements want control over information like self-censorship in Pakistan has been made to function. In his vote of thanks, M Ziauddin said that we must rely on our resources and strengths.

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