Osamaland: Not such a tourist attraction anymore

For one moment it was a tourist attraction children were delightedly ready to show you round. Now it has been sealed off by the Pakistani army.

    For the last five days the world's media have laid siege to the house where Osama bin Laden was shot dead.

    Today, Saturday, it is a very different story. All roads leading to the compound have been cordoned off, the Pakistani army has taken over security, and rumours are rife about the compound's future.

    The first, and most prevalent one, is that the house is about to be torn down. The reasons are perhaps obvious: Osamaland is turning into a tourist attraction, with families visiting and news crews taking up every available space possible.

    But, perhaps, there is another reason. The physical building has begun to be a source of embarrassment.
    Its image has been flashed globally across the planet - a reminder that foreign forces entered Pakistani territory, mounted an operation and flew back out with impunity.

    Others wonder out loud if the Americans have arrived to sweep the property.
    What else is hidden?

    During the operation, some sources suggest, hundreds of documents and hard drives were found. With a bit of time who knows what else may be hidden in Osamaland.

    Whatever the reason, you cannot get anywhere near the house. My team and I tried at several different access points and each time we were turned away.

    At one stage, far from the compound, we began to film at a mosque. The police tried to move us back and when we refused, the army moved in.

    Things became tense as one officer switched off our camera.

    The army are under strict orders to not let us film. Yet as they do this, I myself must have spoken close to 70 people over the last three days - no one believes  that bin Laden really died here.

    That theory lives on in many different shapes and forms.

    After hearing it from so many people I needed a break.

    Under the shade of a tree I sat with a group of students in the grounds of the regions finest medical teaching facility. One of them said something that will stick with me.
    "We have so much here in Abbottabad:  the best schools, a great climate, the finest army college, it has always been peaceful, no bombings here. Despite that it will now forever be known as the town where Osama bin Laden lived and died. That breaks my heart."
    It almost sums up modern-day Pakistan. Its citizens see it as one thing the rest of the world, quite another.    


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