ISLAMABAD - Chinese President Xi Jinping will be given warm welcome upon his arrival on two-day historic visit to Pakistan beginning from April 20.

During the visit, President Xi will address the parliament and witness signing of a number of agreements between Islamabad and Beijing for Chinese investment in Pakistan through energy and infrastructure projects.

The Chinese President will be accompanied by a high powered delegation and his visit is being seen by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif-led government as a game changer.

The government is anticipating Chinese investment of more than $45 billion in 3000 km long road and railway links between Kashgar and Pakistan’s deep sea Gwadar port through proposed Pak- China Economic Corridor project. The Chinese investment is expected to give Pakistan’s national economy a tremendous boost in terms of GDP growth rate up to 8 percent and create more job opportunities.

Pakistan and China often boost of being ‘iron brothers’ and 2-way trade grew to $10 billion last year from $4 billion in 2007.

Experts believed that fruition of Pak-China Economic Corridor project could make Pakistan become one of the top 25 economies of the world. The project is backed by political forces in the country as it is considered a milestone for the future regional integration.

Traders, business community and economic experts also believe that the historic project between the two friendly countries would leave a lasting impact on geo-economic position of the two countries.

According to Chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Defence, Mushahid Hussain Syed, China treats Pakistan as a friend, an ally, a partner and above all an equal-not how the Americans and others do.

Pakistan and China have had developed deep bilateral ties since early 70s being seen by other regional countries as ‘enviable relations’ between the two neighbours who with passage of time have translated their ties into an ideal strategic partnership.

Apart from growing trade and economic ties between the two Asian atomic powers, China from the day one has been forthcoming in helping Pakistan in any testing time especially in meeting Islamabad’s defence needs. Confirming the Chinese President’s visit, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam in her weekly press briefing Thursday said a number of important agreements/MoUs are expected to be signed during the visit.

However, she remained non committal when asked about Pakistan’s reported plans to buy submarines from China.

“I don’t have this information. You may like to address this question to the official who confirmed the plan to you,” she told the questioner. The visit of President Xi to Pakistan has been on the agenda since September last year when it was dramatically postponed due to security reasons. The ruling PML-N blamed duo Imran Khan and Dr, Tahirul Qadri for the postponement of the visit of Chinese President and other foreign dignitaries because of their sit-in protest in front of the Parliament House.

Again, the speculation about his visit to Pakistan rife last month that President Xi was expected to visit Pakistan to grace the 23 March Pakistan Day parade resumed after almost seven years.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong had clarified on March 10 that the Chinese president’s visit had been cancelled due to certain domestic engagements. According to him, the President Xi had to attend mandatory parliament session that takes place once a year in Beijing.