Three people were killed and nine injured in a violent confrontation between Deobandi and Barelvi religious groups in Jani Burira village in Sindh's Khairpur district on Thursday.
Participants in a rally clashed with participants of another rally, held to mark Eid Miladun Nabi, at the Ameer Shah Chowk, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Azfar Maheser told DawnNews.
The deceased and the injured were shifted to a local hospital. Those killed in the incident were identified as Mushtaq Ahmed, Abdul Latif and Zulfiqar Buriro.
The injured were identified as Noor Ahmed, son of Qadir Bux Buriro, 30; Liaquat Ali, son of Abdullah Buriro, 30; Dodo Khan, son of Gulab Khan Buriro 19; Mohammad Suleman, son of Nek Mohammad Buriro, 50; Qurban, son of Abdullah Buriro; Ghulam Shabbir, son of Munir Ahmed, 19; Shahbuddin Dharejo, son of Ghulam Shabbir Dharejo, 27; and Imtiaz, son of Sobho Khan Katohar, 38.
One of the injured, who is stated to be in critical condition, was shifted to Larkana from Khairpur later in the day.
The provincial Director General of Health Services, Akhlaq Ahmed Khan, confirmed to Dawn that three bodies and seven injured were brought to Khairpur District Headquarters Hospital.
"The injured are being managed," he said.
Kot Diji police picked up 12 suspects following the incident. SSP Azfar Mahesar told Dawn that these suspects also included some who were already wanted by police in different murder cases.
He said that 10 empty cartridges from a 9mm pistol and one from a sub-machine gun were found from the site of the incident.
Another police officer said that activists of a banned outfit were responsible for the incident and the name of one of the suspects, Paryal Shah, was already included in the Fourth Schedule.
"He was among the people who had objected to the holding of the Eid Miladun Nabi procession 'without his permission,'" the officer said.
Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwer Sial and Inspector General of Police (IGP) A.D. Khawaja have taken notice of the incident and have demanded a detailed report from SSP Mahesar.
IG Khawaja told Dawn that the police is investigating whether a banned outfit was involved in the incident and assured that strict action would be taken against those responsible. He added that the area has been cordoned off by police and Rangers officials to ensure that there are no further clashes.
The IG also said that the law and order situation is being reviewed in view of Eid Miladun Nabi, which falls on Friday.
The heirs of the deceased staged a sit-in outside the Khairpur SSP's office Thursday evening with the bodies of the men killed to demand the arrest of those involved in the attack.
Reports from Khairpur state that former chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has summoned SSP Azfar Mahesar and directed him to ensure the arrest of the culprits forthwith.