Burzine Waghmar (SOAS) speaking during Panel Discussion on China's Belt and Road Initiative at the Erasmus University
Mr. Burzine Waghmar argued that while Pakistan was enthusiastically taking Chinese money, they looked at the short-term deals for shoring over the financial crisis, without realising its medium- and long-term implications, and the Chinese leverage over Pakistan. Thus, Pakistan is currently in slow burn mode at both ends where the country claims to begin and end, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan. Mr. Waghmar argued that this modish fixation on showy infrastructure actually distracts from deeper problems Pakistan faces. As an example, the port of Gwadar, opened since 2007, lies underutilised no thanks to low-level insurgency in Pakistan’s largest, least populated and most impoverished province, Balochistan.
Mr. Waghmar further stated that the West ought not labour under any illusions of dealing with a People’s Republic whose State-run enterprises are opaque and statistics are stir-fried. To counter China’s misuse of economic power, the West should scrutinise investments by state-owned companies and, with sensitive technologies, by Chinese companies of any kind.
Mr. Burzine Waghmar (SOAS) speaking during ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Violence Along the Way in South Asia’ at the Erasmus University