Strong earthquake jolts Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Strong earthquake tremors shook buildings in different parts of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on Sunday, including northern areas of Swat, Mansehra and Azad Kashmir, and as far south as Lahore and New Delhi.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the earthquake at 6.6 magnitude, putting the epicentre at a depth of 210 kilometres near Ashkasham in Afghanistan, close to Chitral near the Pak-Afghan border.

Pakistani authorities measured the earthquake to be of 7.1 magnitude on the Richter scale.

In Pakistan, the tremors were felt in areas including Swat, Kohistan, Astor, Chitral, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Lahore, Muzaffarabad, Peshawar, Islamabad, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Witnesses in different areas of the country said the tremors lasted from between 15 seconds to almost a minute.

Residents left their homes in Kabul and Islamabad when the quake struck, with buildings swaying for well over a minute in both capitals.

Similar reports were received from across northern and central Pakistan.

People in Lahore, 630 km from the epicentre, also reported they had felt the tremors. A witness for Reuters news agency in Chitral said the tremor was strong but there was no major damage visible.

Tremors were also felt in the Indian capital New Delhi and in Indian Occupied Kashmir, witnesses said, with some people working in high-rise buildings in the Indian capital rushing into the streets.

The Delhi underground system was also halted briefly, commuters told the NDTV channel.

In Kabul, Omar Mohammadi, a spokesman for the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, said officials were collecting information but no reports of casualties or damage had been received so far.

Tremors were also felt in the Indian capital and in iKashmir, witnesses said, with some people working in high-rise buildings in the Indian capital rushing into the streets.

The Delhi underground system was also halted briefly, commuters told the NDTV channel.

A 7.5-magnitude quake struck the area on Oct 26 last year, killing more than 300 people and destroying thousands of homes.

The Hindu Kush area bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan is a seismically active area, with quakes often felt across the region.

Just over a decade ago, a 7.6-magnitude quake in another part of northern Pakistan killed about 75,000 people. Geo