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Monday, March 21, 2011

Moderate earthquake jolts Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A moderate earthquake jolted Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including the capital Islamabad, on Monday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, an official said.

The quake was recorded 5.6-magnitude on the rector scale.

The epicentre of the quake was 188 kilometres (117 miles) north of Islamabad in Faizabad district of northern Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush mountain range, chief meteorologist Mohammad Riaz told AFP.

Tremors were felt at 2:49 pm (0949 GMT) in several cities in central Punjab, northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital Islamabad, and parts of Kashmir, he said.

Reports said the earthquake was felt in Islamabad, Maree, Sahiwal, Sarghodha, Balakot, Sialkot, Bagh, Mingora, Muzaffar Abad, Malakand, Swat, Lower Dir, Abotabad, Temorgara, Khyber Agency, Kohat and vast swatches of the upper country.

It was also felt in Mansehra, Batgram and Kohistan areas of the KP province.

The low intensity quake shook buildings in big cities, forcing panicked people to leave their homes and seek shelter in the open.

The US Geological Survey confirmed the earthquake and magnitude, adding that it struck at a depth of 184.6 kms.

Pakistan was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake on October 8, 2005 that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Azad Kashmir and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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