ISLAMABAD – A powerful earthquake rattled Pakistan’s capital and other cities across the country on Sunday, causing panic among people but with no immediate reports of casualties or major damages.
Pakistani official Arif Ullah told The Associated Press that the magnitude-7.1 quake was centred near Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan. Germany’s GFZ Research Center 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 National Disaster Management Authority, said they have not received any information about damages from the earthquake-hit areas. However, he said that post-quake landslides were a potential threat, and said he had asked regional authorities to prepare for all possible contingencies.
A Pakistani student, Kiran Saeed, said she was studying at home when her chair shook and initially she thought someone had deliberately pushed it. “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 Qur’an,” she told the AP from Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad.
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 one since October when magnitude-7.5 earthquake damaged thousands of homes in the northwest.