AbbotobottobottoBATMAN! Pakistans newest take on Six Flags.
Abbotabad. Land of Pakistanis premier military academy, headquarters of the military’s medical corps, home to the compound where Osama Bin Laden was killed. And soon enough it’ll also be one of the premier amusement park destinations in Pakistan!
The timing of the development is interesting, coming a little more than 18 months after Bin Laden’s death, and nearly exactly a year after the Bin Laden compound was demolished. Along with their announcement of plans to begin construction on the park, officials also issued vehement denials that it had anything to do with Bin Laden. Numerous officials were quoted stating the simple and blunt line: “This project has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden.”1 While this is obviously the “ethically proper” and “politically correct” line to go with, it begs the question of whether or not officials are passing up an intriguing marketing opportunity. As a projected 50 acre venue situated in the middle of the Himalayan foothills, it’s not like they have that much of a local clientele. At least linking it in some way to Bin Laden would have no doubt raised the profile of the park. Furthermore, one must be cognizant of the fact that the park would be looking to attract Pakistani nationals who as a group by no means possess the universal hatred of Bin Laden seen in the Western World (How else did he hide out in a compound for so long!). All in all, the decision to build at this particular time coupled with the manner of announcement is most puzzling.
Details of the compound are few and far between. Amongst the tidbits of information that are known, it has been revealed that the park will cost $30 million in it’s first stages with the potential to rise up to $50 million if the park is expanded beyond its 50 acre starting point. Amongst the attractions will be a zoo, water sports, mini-golf, rock-climbing and a paragliding club. They’ll also have a heritage park and water falls for the more scenic guest.2 Alas, it would thus seem that plans for any ride named “Terror Tower” or “Crashing Death”3 are still to be made. Nonetheless, the proposed expansion plans seem to give officials a lot of wiggle room. If the first 50 acres are successful, plans for a 10 fold expansion to 500 acres are already in the works. There may not yet be a terrorist themed corner in the blueprints but with all that space and time, who knows what the regional Pakistani authorities will come up with?