MEPs, scholars criticise China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in European Parliament

The Members of European Parliament along with scholars and academicians have strongly criticised the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) while discussing the interrelated legal, geo-strategic, economic and environmental impacts at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday. They were speaking at a seminar titled "CPEC - East India Company Mark II?" which was organised by the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) under the aegis of Jonathan Bullock, the Member of European Parliament. Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP, Chair of the Delegation for Relations with India and Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on Terrorism, analyzed whether the building of the multi-billion Economic Corridor throughout Pakistan had parallels with the East India Company and argued that acquiring control of trade, inevitably translates into governmental influence, which is very well the case with CPEC. While illustrating the current global balance of power, where the US sees China as an economic and military rival, Dr. Stott elaborated that the relationship Washington maintains with Islamabad is determined by the relation it maintains with Beijing, meaning that the US sees Pakistan through the prism of its connection with China. He claimed, "The financing of infrastructure by China is more opportunistic for Pakistan since the money from the IMF or the United States would have more stringent conditions and regulations". According to his findings, the CPEC is small in terms of proportions by historical standards and most likely will not make a large impact as may have been advertised. He further exhibited how infrastructure usually diminishes the disparity of prices of goods, yet since in Pakistan there already exists a low disparity, transportation and infrastructure are not the aspects which would drive prices in the country.