Rawalpindi, Pakistan - A suicide bomber killed eight people at Shi'a processions in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi on Wednesday night, local television stations reported.

Police said at least five people were killed and 25 wounded, including children. The attack came hours after two bomb blasts killed at least three people near a gathering of Shi'as in Pakistan's commercial hub Karachi.

Hardline Sunni militant groups linked to al-Qaeda have in recent months stepped up attacks against Pakistan's minority Shi’as, who they regard as non-Muslims.

Pakistan's military, one of the world's biggest, has failed to break the back of militant groups despite launching several offensives against their strongholds in the north-west.

Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, is the headquarters of Pakistan's army.

The violence erupted a day before Pakistan hosts a summit of developing nations attended by the leaders of Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia and other countries. Some of the presidents have already arrived.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the attacks were designed to create the impression that the government is incapable of providing adequate security for the summit.

“We are trying to build relationships, get investment in Pakistan and these groups are trying to derail the process,” he told journalists. - Reuters