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Pakistan to build theme park in bin Laden town

AFP-JIJI

Pakistan is planning to build a $30 million amusement park in the town where Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs, officials said Monday.

The 20-hectare riverside development on the edge of Abbottabad, where the al-Qaida leader was shot dead in May 2011, will include a heritage center, zoo, adventure and paragliding clubs, restaurants and artificial waterfalls. At present, no Disney-style theme rides are planned.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province hopes the project will boost tourism but denied it is intended to improve the town’s image after the humiliation of the bin Laden raid.

“The amusement city will be built on 50 acres (20 hectares) in the first phase but later will be extended to 500 acres (200 hectares),” Syed Aqil Shah, the provincial minister for tourism and sports, said.

Work is due to begin in late February or early March, he said, and will take eight years to complete. Funds worth 3 billion rupees ($30 million) have been allocated, he said.