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Pak bans visit to bin Laden's last hideout

world Updated: Sep 10, 2011 00:22 IST
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Pakistan is preventing foreign journalists and other visitors from getting close to the house of slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden ahead of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Uffe Wolffhechel, the Danish Ambassador to Pakistan and his wife, and two French journalists, were among several people detained this week in Abbottabad - the Pakistani garrison town that was bin Laden's last hideout.

Osama bin Laden was killed in an US operation in Abbottabad in May.

However, there have been no formal instructions to media organisations prohibiting their travel to Abbottabad.

Abbottabad police officer Karim Khan said the authorities were preventing journalists and foreigners from visiting the compound because it is regarded as evidence in investigations into how bin Laden lived there and how the CIA found him.

An editorial in the Dawn newspaper on Friday criticized the ban on foreigners visiting.

"Let's face it: the Bin Laden compound, as the site where the world's most wanted terrorist was found, killed and his body taken away in a raid of high drama, will continue to attract visitors," it said.

"The arbitrary restrictions imposed on visiting or filming in Abbottabad are thus untenable, and must be lifted to show the world that there is nothing there that Pakistan wants to hide."

In the days after the raid, hundreds of journalists travelled to the army town and were permitted - initially at least - to get as far as the door of the large, high-walled compound where bin Laden and his wives and children had been living for several years.