Dilemma over Osama site

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A DIS­PUTE has bro­ken out over the fu­ture of the site where Osama bin Laden was shot dead in 2011, with au­thor­i­ties push­ing ri­val plans for a grave­yard or play­ground.

The mil­i­tary has erected a wall around the 353-square-me­tre plot where the al-Qaeda leader’s com­pound once stood in the gar­ri­son city of Ab­bot­tabad, and wants to con­vert it into a grave­yard.

But the lo­cal pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, which was handed the land af­ter bin Laden was killed by United States spe­cial forces, is try­ing to re­de­velop it as a play­ground.

“We have se­cured this place from en­croach­ment by build­ing a wall around it and now we will de­velop this into a grave­yard be­cause there is a se­ri­ous is­sue of un­avail­abil­ity of grave­yards in the area,” said Zyl­fiqar Ali Bhutto, vice pres­i­dent of the mil­i­tary-run Can­ton­ment Board of Ab­bot­tabad (CBA).

How­ever, Mush­taq Ghani from the Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment op­posed de­vel­op­ing a ceme­tery in the built-up area.

“The gov­ern­ment wants to con­struct a play­ground there. If we get the re­quired funds soon, we will turn that place into a play­ground this year,” Mr Mush­taq said.

“You can’t de­velop a ceme­tery in the mid­dle of houses.”

Mr Butto in­sisted the CBA had the author­ity to push ahead with it plans.

Elite US Navy Seals launched a he­li­copter raid on the highly for­ti­fied com­pound on May 2, 2011, killing bin Laden and tak­ing away his body. Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties later de­mol­ished the build­ing and left the plot va­cant.

Photo:

Work­ers mark the edges on July 23 of the patch of ground where the house where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed once stood in Ab­bot­tabad.

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