Demolition squad: Bin Laden compound becoming history

Published: February 26, 2012

ABBOTABAD: 

Authorities on Sunday continued tearing down the infamous compound of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden where he was hunted down by US commandos in a top-secret raid in May last year.

A private construction firm was hired to bulldoze the structure following the green light from the judicial commission investigating the circumstances that led to the US Navy SEAL raid, official sources told The Express Tribune.

“Workers are expected to pull down the building by 3am,” said an official source, adding that heavy machinery had been moved to Bilal Town, the neighbourhood next to Pakistan Military Academy where the structure is located.

Soon after a visit to the mansion by the Abbottabad commission members, the belongings of the Bin Laden family were moved to an undisclosed location in anticipation of its demolition.

Sources said that security forces, who were standing guard at the compound, handed its control to the civil administration before its demolition started at around 8.30pm on Saturday.

Witnesses said troops blocked access to the compound, brought heavy machinery and barred journalists from taking pictures or coming close to the site. As workers started demolishing the structure in the glare of floodlights, local residents were asked to remain indoors till the structure was razed.

The triple-storey house, built over an area of 38,000 square feet and worth Rs85 million, has been under the control of the security forces and police since the May 2011 raid.

Two months ago, the authorities had detained the Danish ambassador, his wife and their security officer for visiting the area. During the last 10 months, more than eight Pakistani and foreign journalists were also detained for taking photographs of the compound.

“They should have razed it much earlier to spare us frequent questioning and surveillance,” said local resident Iqbal.

“The area people will now heave a sigh of relief,” added Tariq, another resident of Bilal Town. “At least the Bin Laden chapter is closed for us now.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Feb 26, 2012 - 10:37AM

    Thank goodness! Finally, this drama of horrors is ending. Who would have imagined that OBL was sheltering under the very eyes of the PMA?

    My goodness, what a thundering, lightning bolt of news the nation got when they woke up on the morning of May 02, 2011? It shocked me out of my senses.

    Now let us settle down to ending this Afghan war game played by the Americans and send them home. Develop our country without loans. Develop our country using our education, hands and legs and paying taxes. Develop on Islamic lines our social structure, manners, commerce and manufacturing, agriculture, marketing and all aspects involving Islam. Let it come not in haste but steadily. There is no other option.

    Now that this house is being, demolished, let Pakistanis start to learn how to protect their independence and not go around welcoming everyone. Do they welcome us? Salams

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  • Feb 26, 2012 - 10:46AM

    Of course, Bin Laden chapter is closed for people of Abbotabad. But, the world will never forget this place.

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  • Feb 26, 2012 - 10:57AM

    Is this an admission that the Pakistani military has always owned this property?

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  • Ray
    Feb 26, 2012 - 11:44AM

    The building may go but history cannot be changed. Nor is there any change in Pakistan’s use of terror as a state policy. Pakistan remains the same state that it has always been. The rest of showoff. All of it.

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  • Feb 26, 2012 - 12:42PM

    Vienna,February 26,2012
    The building may be demolished. But the role of the Pakistani
    security establishment in the entire episode can be reconstructed,
    as we do reconstruct even the Indus civilization.The tar is a stigma
    that can not be erased.Now it is up to the services including the ISI,
    Inter Services Intelligence,made more famous by Venna Malik to
    amend and dress up for presentation as a would be virgin bride.
    Long live law unto themselves the Security Services of Pakistan.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • MyHeartSpeaks
    Feb 26, 2012 - 12:44PM

    @ the Skunk any proof that OBL was hiding there?? In this Satellite-monitored world, where no one can hide from being traced out by satellites. And, there is no single clue to show the world that OBL was actually hiding there. For investigation point of view, this place should have been kept as forensic evidence.

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  • Ali
    Feb 26, 2012 - 1:32PM

    Rs.85 million worth?Pathetic reporting.If you are not aware of the land prices in Bilal Town and the structure of that house, then it would be fair to say that you should kindly refrain from presenting such exaggerated misleading figures.

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  • Uza Syed
    Feb 26, 2012 - 3:15PM

    It is good so. Let there be no traces left of such horror creating places for budding terrorists to be inspired. I demand that: Those infamous buildings in Islamabad disguised as red mosque and madarsa should also be demolished so that no one goes around glorifying those centres of terrorism as a place of worship and knowledge———those were garrison for stockpiling arms and training terrorist to destroy the very fabric of our country.

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  • Akash
    Feb 26, 2012 - 3:16PM

    Missed a golden opportunity to make it a tourist attraction and milk it for cash for years to come :-)

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  • vasan
    Feb 26, 2012 - 4:37PM

    Now the conspiracy theorists will start again “We told u so. US did not kill OBL in May.
    Where is the building that supposedly hid OBL. The land was empty from the days of Mohammed Ghaznavi”

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  • meekal ahmed
    Feb 26, 2012 - 4:39PM

    They should have turned it into a tourist attraction and charge people for visiting.

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  • Sobriquet
    Feb 26, 2012 - 4:41PM

    @Kulamarva Balakrishna: It seems you are desperately trying to publicise your name and your (non existent) Media Monitoring “trust”. At least try to write coherently so that your comments add something constructive to the topic.

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  • mind control
    Feb 26, 2012 - 5:10PM

    With the property gone, the ‘There is no Evidence of Bin Laden Elimination’ squad gets a new lease of life.
    Their next question’ So where was Bin Laden hiding? Is there any ‘evidence’ of a building there?’

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  • Roflcopter
    Feb 26, 2012 - 5:40PM

    US backstabbed Pakistan with this raid, the building should have been left alone so our future generations never forget the true face of backstabbing US.

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  • MyHeartSpeaks
    Feb 26, 2012 - 7:15PM

    @vasan OK. NO CONSPIRACY here. Without being diplomatic, I humbly ask you to show any evidence/proof that US actually killed OBL. Also, show evidence/proof that OBL was actually hiding in that building. awaiting reply……

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  • well-wisher
    Feb 26, 2012 - 7:41PM

    GOP should acquire this land from its owner and construct a home for children who were orphaned in terrorists related attacks, which would give a positive message to the international community and also erase the blemish of housing the world’s most dreaded terrorist.

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  • Tariq
    Feb 26, 2012 - 9:58PM

    @MyHeartSpeaks:
    Everybody seems to have forgotten a key piece of human evidence. His wife and kids were found there.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Feb 26, 2012 - 10:51PM

    @MyHeartSpeaks: Any reason demolishing the building ?

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  • Tony C.
    Feb 26, 2012 - 10:57PM

    There are just a few things to consider. We only have America’s word for it that Bin Laden was living in the so called Shrine, and that they dropped his body in the sea. Now all the evidence has been destroyed by the Pakistan Government nobody can check the house for Bin laden’s DNA or anything else.

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  • usmanx
    Feb 26, 2012 - 11:10PM

    Kulamarva Balakrishna,

    How about India’s 130,000 demolished lives in Kashmir?
    Will history remember them?

    It works both way and nobody is clean Recommend

  • yajsingh
    Feb 27, 2012 - 12:11AM

    Not surprised but definitely concerned by comments on this page. What do people exactly mean by “Osama Bin Laden is a closed chapter with demolishing of his final hide out”?

    This to me appears an attempt at sweeping dust under the carpet.

    Are you guys content that just because OBL doesn’t exist or OBL’s belongings are erased – justice is done?

    Should you not ask the question at whose door steps should you lay accountability?

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  • F. H
    Feb 27, 2012 - 12:51AM

    The building is gone, the name of the city is proposed to be change too. The plot probably will be given to a church or a mandir so there will be little chance a saint mosuleum is built there. ISI name will also be changed to ICI or IFI etc. A children park will be built at the Army Academy nearby. Army center will be moved to possibly near Raiwind somewhere.

    After all people’s memory is short-lived and political leaders show excellent past record with genuine degrees & honest public service without demolishing anything, we might as well just change the story about what happened in Osamabad.

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  • Arindom
    Feb 27, 2012 - 12:54AM

    A truly Golden Business Opportunity lost!!! There would have been thousands of rich American (and indeed global) tourists willing to pay $10,000 each to get a conducted tour inside the house, with even mock-up SEALs and OBL play re-enacted!!!

    1000 rich visitors daily each paying $10,000 works out to $10 million DAILY.
    With all-year (365-day) operation, this would have generated annual revenues of $3.65 Billion USD!!!!

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  • Jap
    Feb 27, 2012 - 1:29AM

    “They should have razed it much earlier to spare us frequent questioning and surveillance,”

    when has this government ever done anything on time??

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  • Babbarsher khan
    Feb 27, 2012 - 4:21AM

    @MyHeartSpeaks:
    yes, show this chap the proof, maan! He has right to ask for it and unless he is satisfied and convinced it does not matter what the rest of the humanity thinks.

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  • usmanx
    Feb 27, 2012 - 4:26AM

    If we demolish
    Indians: Are you trying to dust under carpet?

    If we don’t demolish
    Indians: Is it a a sacred place for you?

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  • Cynical
    Feb 27, 2012 - 5:14AM

    @Tariq
    You nailed it.

    Also recommend,
    @vasan (…from the days of Mohammed Ghaznavi)
    @mind control (Is there any ‘evidence’ of building there)
    @F. H ( the post is worth quoting word by word)
    @Arindom ( the business angle)

    Thank you all.

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  • Dave Burnstorm
    Feb 27, 2012 - 5:29AM

    I would like to buy the land, can any one tell me who is the owner?

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  • Mirza
    Feb 27, 2012 - 8:58AM

    Where is Abbottabad Commission from all this demolition? Looks like the Commission has been under the radar and no decision has been made. The Memo and bringing PM for contempt is more important than Osama Bin Forgotten.

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  • Singh Chauhan
    Feb 27, 2012 - 10:23PM

    How many more structures will you raze?
    Bin laden is not a person- but the name of a mentality which is now deep-ingrained into this society..
    Going by this logic, you’ll have to raze 50% of country..Recommend

  • Tony C.
    Feb 28, 2012 - 1:03AM

    @vasan:
    Dear Vasan,
    Except for those displaying complete naivety the more intelligent people tend not to believe what comes out of Washington, and indeed from most government sources. Governments have a tendency to tell us what they want us to know rather than the truth. Many things have happened over the last twenty years or so, and in particular since 9/11, which tend to stretch the credulity of thinking people. For example look at Iraq. Iraq was an OK country with a high standard of living, but America falsely accused them of having nuclear weapons and declared war on the country. The result was that Iraq was bombed into the stone age, hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children were killed, the infra structure to this day barely working, Iraqi oil under complete control of the West, and of course, no nuclear weapons were found. Because of disasters such as this conspiracy theories tend to abound, but there is an old saying: “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. In regard to Pakistan, the Government is like all the others. We have to accept much of what they say, but if it sounds incredulous it probably is, so lets keep them on the ball with conspiracy theories. Finally, demolishing a building because it could be a shrine sounds like so much poppycock to me. Pakistan is not wealthy. Why not make the building available to one of the worthy causes which abound in Pakistan.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Feb 28, 2012 - 7:06PM

    @Tony C.: “Finally, demolishing a building because it could be a shrine sounds like so much poppycock to me. Pakistan is not wealthy. Why not make the building available to one of the worthy causes which abound in Pakistan.” Spot on but then we have rich govts and poor people.

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