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Delhi’s ‘lost’ Mughal garden reopens as public park


A once-for-

gotten Mughal garden in the

heart of New Delhi reopened on

Wednesday after years of pains-

taking conservation work, creat-

ing a new public park in India’s

sprawling and smog-choked


The 90-acre (36-hectare) gar-

den was formally opened by the

Aga Khan, whose Trust for Cul-

ture has helped recreate the clas-

sical garden and restore its crum-

bling 16th-century monuments.

Some of the ancient tombs it

contains were close to ruin be-

fore conservation efforts began

around a decade ago, but have

now been given UNESCO World

Heritage status.

The park is part of the his-

toric complex that surrounds

Humayan’s Tomb, the recently

restored grave of a Mogul em-

peror that is widely seen as the

inspiration for the Taj Mahal.

The Mogul dynasty ruled

most of northern India from the

early 16th to the mid-18th century

and were famed for their archi-

tectural splendors.

Known as the Sunder Nurs-

ery, it was used in the early 20th

century to propagate trees and

flowers for the grand new city

built when India’s British rulers

moved the capital to Delhi from


It remained in use as a gov-

ernment nursery, but the gardens

themselves had become sub-

sumed by jungle.

When the Aga Khan Trust

for Culture first opened offices,

they had to contend with cobras

nesting in the half-ruined build-

ings, said general manager Luis


Over the last decade, hun-

dreds of truckloads of construc-

tion rubble were removed and

20,000 saplings planted on the


Now it combines lakes and

pristine tree-studded lawns with

Mogul-inspired formal gardens

featuring marble fountains and

geometric beds of brightly cul-

tured poppies, marigolds and


Project director Ratish Nan-

da said he hoped the Sunder

Nursery would become a green

lung for the city and could even-

tually rival New York’s Central


“The idea would be eventu-

ally to create the largest park in

Asia, linking the Sunder Nursery

with the Humayan’s Tomb com-

plex and the Delhi Zoo,” he said.

A Mogul-era Caravanserai

that once catered to travelers on

the Grand Trunk Road, which ran

all the way from Chittagong on

the Bangladesh coast to Kabul,

abuts the site and could also one

day be part of the park, he said.

New Delhi already has large

amounts of green space but much

of it is off-limits to the public —

such as an exclusive golf course

that takes up swathes of the city



This photo taken on Tuesday shows the renovated fountain area in Sunder Nursery, a 16th-century heritage

garden complex adjacent to Indian UNESCO site Humayun’s Tomb, in New Delhi.


US presidency is costing the

family firm, claims Trump Jr.


Donald Trump

Jr. said that any talk of his fam-

ily profiting from his father’s

presidency is “nonsense” as he

embarked on a trip to India that

has raised ethical concerns about

using the name of the American

president to promote internation-

al business ventures.

The eldest son of President

Donald Trump, who is in India to

meet the promoters and buyers of

Trump brand luxury homes in the

country, said his family is actually

missing out on business opportu-

nities because his father pledged

to conduct no new foreign busi-

ness while he was in office.

Trump Jr., who along with

his brother Eric now runs the

Trump Organization, told Indian

television channel CNBC-TV18

on Tuesday that when critics

talk about them “profiteering

from the presidency and all this

nonsense” they forget about “the

opportunity cost of the deals that

we were not able to do.”

“It’s sort of a shame. Because

we put on all these impositions

on ourselves and essentially got

no credit for actually doing that

... for doing the right thing,” he


For at least a week before

Trump Jr. arrived in India on

Tuesday, several major Indian

newspapers carried glossy, front-

page advertisements with the

statement, “Trump has arrived.

Have you?”

The ads promised that buyers

who order apartments in a new

Trump-brand luxury real estate

development in a suburb of the

Indian capital by Thursday will

get “a conversation and dinner”

US businessman Donald Trump Jr., son of the US President Donald Trump, poses before a business meeting in

Kolkata on Wednesday.


with Trump Jr. a day later.

He is expected to visit and

promote business in all the

Trump-brand projects across

four Indian cities. Media access

to his events in the country has

been limited and only news orga-

nizations chosen by his team have

had access to him.

The Trump Organization has

licensing agreements with all its

Indian business partners. They

build the properties and acquire

the Trump name in exchange for

a fee. With five projects in India,

the country is the brand’s largest

market outside the United States.

A luxury complex is already open

in the central city of Pune, with

other developments in vary-

ing stages of construction in the

coastal cities of Mumbai and Kol-

kata, and two in Gurgaon.

All the projects were signed

before President Trump took of-

fice, but promoting even existing

business has raised ethics con-

cerns. “The president should be

putting the public’s interest be-

fore his business interests. That

can’t happen if his son is flying

around the world trying to trade

on the fact that his father is sit-

ting in the Oval Office,” said Scott

H. Amey, general counsel for the

non-partisan Project on Govern-

ment Oversight in Washington.

Amey added that several

foreign deals touted by the

president’s two adult sons have

“stretched the definition of what

ventures were previously in the


Trump Jr. has made several

visits to India over the years and

has repeatedly talked of great

business opportunities in the


— AP

Sri Lanka

bus blast

injures 19,


12 soldiers


Nineteen people

including 12 military personnel

were injured on Wednesday in an

explosion on a bus in Sri Lanka,

said the military, adding they do

not know the cause but suspect it

may be a bomb or grenade.

Since the end of Sri Lanka’s

nearly three-decade civil war in

2009 there have been no targeted

attacks on the military.

Those injured included seven

army men, five air force personnel

and seven civilians, the military


The passenger bus was trav-

eling from Jaffna to Diyathalawa,

which has one of the main mili-

tary training centers.

“There had been an explo-

sion in a passenger bus. There

are some fragments on the body

of the bus. We suspect it as a

bomb blast,” military spokesman

Sumith Atapattu said.

“The investigations underway

to find out the details.”

Atapattu said seven army and

five air force personnel along with

seven civilians were injured in a

fire following the explosion on

the passenger bus which operated

from northern Jaffna peninsula

to central town of Diyathalawa,

where one of the main military

training centers is located.


Pakistan looks to avoid being

added to terror financing list


Pakistan has

narrowly avoided being targeted

by a global watchdog over terror-

ism financing, the foreign minis-

ter said, after reports that the US

had supported a motion to place

its ally on the group’s watch list.

The country was granted

a three-month reprieve by the

Financial Action Task Force

(FATF), according to a tweet late

Tuesday by Khawaja Asif, after a

meeting in Paris failed to reach

agreement on the matter.

“No consensus for nominat-

ing Pakistan,” Asif wrote, adding

that the forum instead proposed

a three-month pause along with

the submission of a new report

to the body.

“Grateful to friends who

helped,” he added.

FATF declined comment,

with a spokeswoman saying any

formal decision would be made

by Friday.

The US State Department

said it also expected a formal de-

cision in coming days. “We’re an-

ticipating that the final decision

would be made on Thursday of

this week,” a spokesperson said.

Earlier this month Pakistan

quietly amended its anti-terror

laws to ban groups listed as ter-

rorists by the United Nations.

Following the move, officials

began seizing assets from the

Jamaat-ud-Dawa group, whose

leader Hafiz Saeed is a prime

suspect in the 2008 Mumbai at-


Reports claimed earlier this

Khawaja Asif

month that the US had tabled

a motion to add Pakistan to the

FATF watch list, as ties fray

over accusations that Islamabad

gives safe haven to militants who

launch attacks in neighboring


The FATF move rattled of-

ficials and businesses, who fear

any type of financial restrictions

could crimp the country’s eco-

nomic prospects.

Relations between Pakistan

and the US have been tense since

President Donald Trump lashed

out at Islamabad last August, up-

braiding it for sheltering “agents

of chaos”.

In January Trump ordered

the suspension of US military aid

to Pakistan, saying it was not do-

ing enough to target the Afghan

Taliban and the Haqqani insur-

gent group.

Pakistan had been on the

FATF watch list for years but

was removed in 2015 following

“significant progress” in meeting

its demands.

Parliament that year ap-

proved amendments to an anti-

money laundering law to make

it more effective in targeting the

financing of extremists and bring

it into line with global standards.

FATF is an inter-governmen-

tal body established in 1989 to

help combat money laundering

and financing for extremists.


Canada won’t back

Sikh separatists,

Trudeau tells India



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

traveled to the holiest site of

Sikhism in northern India on

Wednesday where government

leaders said he assured them

his country won’t support any-

one trying to revive a separatist

movement in India.

Canada is home to an influen-

tial Sikh community and Indian

leaders say there are some fringe

groups there that are still sympa-

thetic to the cause of an indepen-

dent Sikh state called Khalistan,

carved out of India.

Trudeau visited the Golden

Temple in Amritsar, the holiest

Sikh shrine, and later met Punjab

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh

and addressed the concerns of

his hosts, the state leader said.

“I am very impressed with my

meeting with the prime minister.

I raised the issue of Khalistan,

because that is our primary is-

sue,” Singh said, adding he had

received a categorical assurance

from Trudeau.

“His words are a big relief to

all of us here in India and we look

forward to his government’s sup-

port in tackling fringe separatist

elements,” he said in a Tweet.

Former Indian Prime Min-

ister Indira Gandhi sent the

military to the Golden Temple

to flush out separatists at the

height of the revolt in 1984. A few

months later, Gandhi was assassi-

nated by her Sikh bodyguards at

her home in Delhi.

Indian media reports sug-

gested that Trudeau, who is on an

extended tour of India along with

wife and children, had received a

lukewarm reception because of

concerns that he was a bit soft

on Sikh extremist groups in his


— Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, meets with Punjab Chief

Minister Amarinder Singh in Amritsar on Wednesday.


Ex-PM Sharif cannot

lead his party, rules

Pakistan’s top court



Supreme Court ordered on

Wednesday that ousted Prime

Minister Nawaz Sharif be re-

moved as head of the political

party he founded, six months

after the court removed him

as premier.

The order overturns a

change in the law by Shar-

if’s ruling Pakistan Muslim

League-Nawaz that allowed

the former premier to lead

the party despite being le-

gally banned from holding

public office. “The Election

Commission is directed to re-

move name of Nawaz Sharif

as president of PML-N from

all official records,” Chief Jus-

tice Saqib Nisar said from the


An individual disquali-

fied under Articles 62 and

63 cannot serve as head of a

political party, said a three-

judge Supreme Court bench

in its verdict on the petitions

challenging the controversial

Elections Act 2017.

The passage of the Elec-

tions Act 2017 bulldozed

through the Upper and Lower

houses last year paved the

way for Sharif to resume his

position as PML-N chief fol-

lowing his disqualification

from public office.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-

Insaf (PTI), Awami Muslim

League, PPP and others peti-

tioned the apex court against

the Elections Act 2017, and the

court began hearing the case

in Jan 2018.

The chief justice, while

reading out the verdict, said

that a person who is disquali-

fied under Article 62 and 63

of the Constitution is not eli-

gible to sign on any document

needed to nominate someone

to the National Assembly or


Justice Nisar, in his re-

marks, said that it is manda-

tory for a party head to fulfill

the requirements of Articles

62 and 63, as a party head is

powerful and political parties

control the government.

“It is crucial for parlia-

mentarians to be of good con-

duct to run the affairs of the

parliament,” he said.

— Agen-


Nawaz Sharif