September 5, 2011

Millions of Pakistani Catholics are expected to attend the annual Marian pilgrimage at Mariamabad in the face of ongoing fears of terrorism.

Father Ashraf Gill, head of security for the Sept. 9-11 event, has called on security agencies to provide "functional" security for pilgrims to the national Marian shrine.

"The (metal detector) gate posted at the entrance of the shrine stopped functioning on several occasions last year," said Gill. Organizers have also enlisted 200 youths and 30 women to watch for suspicious activity.