UNITED NATIONS, June 9 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Monday strongly condemned Sunday's terror attacks in Pakistan, including an assault on a Karachi airport and suicide attacks targeting Shiite pilgrims, and urged the Pakistani government to boost efforts to fight terrorism and religious extremism.
"The secretary-general is deeply concerned by this upsurge of violence across Pakistan," said the statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.
"While acknowledging the measures already taken to maintain security, he urges the government of Pakistan to further increase its efforts to address terrorism and religious extremism, including with a view to protecting the rights of all people to safely practice their religion, and to bring the perpetrators of such attacks to justice," the statement said.
"The secretary-general expresses his solidarity with the government and the people of Pakistan and extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims," the statement said.
The assault on Jinnah International Airport in the southern city of Karachi began just before midnight when at least 10 heavily armed militants disguised as security forces stormed the terminal building after lobbing hand grenades and opening fire at security personnel.
The Taliban on Monday morning claimed responsibility for the attack that killed at least 19 people, saying that it was launched in retaliation for military operations on their hideouts in the northwestern tribal areas of the country.
Taliban spokesperson Shahidullah Shaid called the attack as a revenge for the killing of former Taliban chief Hakimulla Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike in November last year and vowed to conduct more such attacks in the future.
In separate, unrelated violence, suicide attacks against Shiite pilgrims killed at least 24 people in the southwestern province of Balochistan.
Officials said the attackers hurled two hand grenades at two buses parked outside a hotel in the Taftan area of Chaghi, a district near the Pakistan-Iran border, before shooting with automatic guns. No group or militant organization has claimed responsibility for the attacks.