A strong 5.8 magnitude earthquake jolted several cities and northern parts of the country — including Islamabad, Azad Kashmir, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Lahore — on Tuesday afternoon.
The tremors lasted for 8-10 seconds but were felt strongly, DawnNewsTV reported.
The cities where the tremors were felt included Sialkot, Sargodha, Mansehra, Gujrat, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Bajaur, Swat, Sahiwal, Rahim Yar Khan and Mirpur.
Occurring just after 4pm, the shallow quake hit 22.3 kilometres north of Jhelum along the boundary separating the agricultural heartland of Punjab and Azad Kashmir, according to the US Geological Survey.
“The quake was 10 kilometres deep and was felt in most of Punjab province, some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The worst hit was Mirpur, Azad Kashmir,” chief meteorologist Muhammad Riaz told AFP.
Witnesses Sajjad Jarral and Qazi Tahir told AFP at least 50 people were injured by the quake that caused a building to collapse in Mirpur and inflicted heavy damage on at least one road. There are also reports of walls collapsing in the area.
Tremors were felt as far as New Delhi, while the Press Trust of India reported that people rushed out of their homes and offices in panic in several places, including in Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.
Najeeb Ahmed, a deputy director at Pakistan Meteorological Department’s earthquake centre, told DawnNewsTV that the quake measured 5.8 on the magnitude scale and was at a depth of 10 kilometres.
The quake sent people racing out of buildings and offices in cities across the country.
The military’s media wing tweeted that Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has issued directions for troops to conduct an “immediate rescue operation” in aid of the civil administration for victims of the earthquake in AJK.
Army troops with aviation and medical support teams have been dispatched to the area, it added.
Pakistan straddles part of the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, making the country susceptible to earthquakes.
In October 2015, a 7.5-magnitude quake in Pakistan and Afghanistan killed almost 400 people, flattening buildings in rugged terrain that impeded relief efforts.
The country was also hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, 2005, that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in AJK.
People in the capital and other cities took to social media to share how they experienced the earthquake.
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