MULTAN - Security agencies rounded up at least seven suspected persons from South Punjab for their alleged links to a terrorist outfit Ansar al Sharia in a crackdown on Wednesday and Thursday, sources said.

The Counter-Terrorism Department and police carried out joint operations and caught four persons from Multan, one from Dera Ghazi Khan and two from Bahawalpur. Sources further revealed that all the accused were caught on the basis of information provided by Talha Ansari, an alleged associate of the terrorist group, who was caught a day earlier by the police. He was arrested from Delhi Gate area of the walled city Multan. Sources claimed that four out of seven accused had got training from Afghanistan and they were planning to carry out attacks on pattern of Karachi killings in South Punjab. The arrested persons have been shifted to undisclosed place for investigation.

MDA CRACKDOWN: The Multan Development Authority initiated a crackdown on illegal housing schemes on Thursday and its teams demolished the offices of six such colonies. MDA sources said that the operation was part of already ongoing crackdown on illegal residential schemes. The authority had declared dozens of housing schemes illegal and fraud in an earlier crackdown. The MDA sources said that the roads and sewerage lines laid in the said six illegal housing schemes had also been dug during the operation.

NETHERLANDS POLICY OFFICER VISITS MCCI: Netherlands Policy officer on economic affairs Umair Ahmed called on President of Multan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi in his office and presented compliments and gratitude to him for his services rendered for the cause of business community here today. He said that the Netherlands and Pakistan are major trading partners. The Netherlands is Pakistan's ninth largest export destination, while the EU is its fourth largest. The Netherlands primarily imports textiles, woven fabrics, linen and, increasingly, agricultural products from Pakistan. The main Dutch exports to Pakistan are oil and oil products, industrial and agricultural machinery, and chemicals.

    The Netherlands is the fourth largest investor in Pakistan, he added. He exchanged views regarding increasing the cooperation in bilateral trade, agriculture, textiles and poultry.

Umair disclosed that Netherland was introducing a sponsored programme in Pakistan under which ten experts in modern technology would arrive in Pakistan for transfer of technology and to assist Pakistanis to improve their skill.

MCCI President Jalaluddin Roomi said that Netherland should provide warehouses in its country to introduce the Pakistani products. He said that  Pakistan offers opportunities for Dutch companies in the cattle and dairy farming ,beef and chicken processing (for the large domestic market, but also for export to the large halal market in the Persian Gulf);fruit, vegetable and flower cultivation and post-harvest management (especially for the large agribusiness sector in South Punjab);water management (water supply and purification); energy (given the acute energy shortage in Pakistan, there is much demand from industry for wind, biogas and solar energy solutions);consumer goods (especially high-quality dairy products and cosmetics);IT (outsourcing).

Umair Ahmed said the Netherlands supported projects on good governance, water, education and the environment. During the phase-out period, a transition programme was set up to contribute to peace, security and stability in the region. Since 2010, the EU has provided some €500-600 million in humanitarian and development aid. From 2014, the focus of the development relationship between the EU and Pakistan was on good governance, the rule of law, human rights, education and rural development. Khawaja Hassamuddin, Khawaja Najmuddin, Khurram Javed, Tariq Hassan, Ghulam Jilani and Javed Anjum also joined them.