Pakistan to Build $30m Amusement Park in Town Where Bin Laden Was Killed
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Pakistani policemen stand guard outside the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May, 5, 2011
What would you call an amusement park located in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the city where U.S. Special Forces finally tracked down Osama bin Laden? Bin Laden-land? Jihadi World? Al-Qaeda Adventure City?
In reality, it'll actually be anything but a bin Laden-focused theme park. But yes, a private company has revealed plans to build a $30 million amusement park and outdoor-activity area at the edge of this city in northeastern Pakistan, reports Reuters. The venture is presumably designed to tap an uptick in tourism post-bin Laden, while in theory working to rehabilitate the city's image after the al-Qaeda founder was killed in a nearby compound - since demolished - by Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011, in a clandestine raid.
The 50-acre riverside amusement park could eventually grow to 500 acres (by comparison, California's Disneyland covers around 160 acres) and will reportedly include a miniature golf course, artificial waterfalls, paragliding, rock climbing, water sports, various eateries, jogging tracks and a zoo. It should be ready to open its doors in five years time, according to Jamaluddin Khan, the deputy provincial minister for tourism.
Syed Aqil Shah, the minister for tourism and sports in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, denies the venture is about enhancing Abbottabad's image, however, telling Agence France-Presse that the project "has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden" and that it's merely part of a move "to promote tourism and amusement facilities in the whole province."
Shah may have a point: Abottabad, which sits in the Himalayan foothills at about 4,000 ft. above sea level, has long been a tourist destination because of its comparatively cooler summer climate and proximity to other tourist attractions, including Ayubia National Park and the Karakoram Highway connecting Pakistan to China - the world's highest paved road at over 15,000 ft.