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PESHAWAR: Pakistan is planning to build a $30m amusement park with a zoo and adventure sports facilities in the town where Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces, officials said yesterday.
The 50hectare riverside development on the edge of Abbottabad, where US Navy Seals shot dead the Al Qaeda leader on May 2, 2011, will include restaurants, a heritage centre and artificial waterfalls.
The government of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province hopes the project, announced as a public-private partnership, will boost tourism but denied it was intended to improve the town’s image after the humiliation of the bin Laden raid.
“The amusement city will be built on 50 acres in the first phase but later will be extended to 500 acres,” Syed Aqil Shah, the provincial Minister for Tourism and Sports said.
“It will have a heritage park, wildlife zoo, food street, adventure and paragliding clubs, waterfalls and jogging tracks.”
Work is due to begin in late February or early March, he said, and will take eight years to complete.
Abbottabad, in the foothills of the Himalayas around 50km north of Islamabad, has long been a popular spot for well-heeled families from the capital to spend weekends away.
The town also houses Pakistan’s elite military academy and the discovery of the world’s most wanted man on its doorstep prompted allegations of incompetence or complicity between the armed forces and the 9/11 mastermind.