A mortar attack killed nine people, including women and children, in northwest Pakistan on Friday as Shiite Muslims marked Ashoura, the holiest day in their calendar, police said.
Mortars slammed into two houses in Hangu, a town that has been a flashpoint for sectarian clashes between Pakistan's Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities.
They were fired from the neighbouring district of Orakzai, part of Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal areas with Afghanistan that Washington has branded the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.
"It was a sectarian attack. A total of four mortars were fired. The death toll is now nine," Gul Jamal, a local police official, told AFP.
Six of those killed were Shiite and three Sunni, police said.
In southern Pakistan, police said they opened fire on a suicide bomber who tried to get into a Shiite rally in Sindh province's Shikarpur district.
"Police stopped a suspect who was trying to get into a Shiite gathering where there were about 1,000 people," police official Asad Sarfaraz told the local Samaa television station.
"When police stopped him, he tried to run away. Police opened fire and he blew himself up. One police officer and two policemen were wounded. We have recovered parts of a leg," Sarfaraz added.