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Strong earthquake sparks panic across Pakistan

A powerful earthquake has rattled Pakistan's capital and other cities across the country, causing panic among people but apparently no major damage.

Pakistani official Arif Ullah said the magnitude-7.1 quake was centred near Afghanistan's border with Tajikistan. Germany's GFZ Research Centre for Geosciences set the quake's magnitude at 6.5.

In Islamabad, terrified residents fled their homes and offices as buildings swayed. Television footage showed people praying in public.

Tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital New Delhi.

Ahmad Kamal, a spokesman at the National Disaster Management Authority, said it has not received any information about damages from the earthquake-hit areas. However, he said post-quake landslides are a potential threat and he has asked regional authorities to prepare for all possible contingencies.

Pakistani student Kiran Saeed said she was studying at home when her chair shook and initially she thought someone had deliberately pushed it.

Speaking from Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad, she added: "When I turned back, no-one was there and then the walls started shaking.

"We came out of the home and everyone was reciting verses from Quran."

Sahiba Bibi, an Islamabad resident, said she almost fell to the ground when the tremors began.

"I am still very terrified," she said.

Sunday's quake was the strongest since October when magnitude-7.5 earthquake damaged thousands of homes in the north-west.


From Belfast Telegraph