Quake measuring 7.2 jolts Pakistan, India

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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Jan 19 (PTI) A severe earthquake measuring7.2 on the Richter scale that hit a remote area of southwestPakistan today was felt from New Delhi to Dubai though initialreports said there was no major damage.

The earthquake occurred at 1:23 am Pakistani time at adepth of 84 km, the US Geological Survey said.

Its epicentre was 45 km west of Dalbandin, a remotetown in Balochistan province with a population of 15,000.

Pakistan Meteorological Department Director ArifMahmood said the quake was felt in Punjab, Sindh andBalochistan provinces of Pakistan and parts of Iran and India.

He said quakes with such magnitudes in the past hadbeen followed by aftershocks.

Officials said there were apparently no reports ofcasualties at the epicentre because the region is sparselypopulated.

People living near the epicentre in Kalat, Dalbadinand Kharan districts told CNN some mud-walled homes weredamaged but no one was hurt.

An official at the Civil Hospital in Balochistancapital Quetta said a female cardiac patient suffered a fatalheart attack during the temblor.

People in Balochistan and Sindh said they had feltbuildings sway during the quake.

The temblor shook the cities of Hyderabad, Quetta,Jaffarabad, Lahore and Sargodha.

Residents of high-rise buildings in Karachi rushedout into the streets.

At many places, men and women gathered in open spacesand began praying and reading from the Quran.

Officials in most cities and towns said they hadreceived no reports of casualties or damage.

People in places as far apart as Dubai and New Delhiposted on Twitter that they had felt the quake.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said theepicentre of the earthquake was located in southwesternPakistan in the desert area bordering Iran and Afghanistan.

"It was a shallow earthquake which struck at a depthof 7.4 km," an IMD official said.

The Pacific Tsunami Center said the onshore quake hadnot triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Quakes of 7.0 to 7.9 are classified by geologicalauthorities as major and are capable of causing widespread andheavy damage.

On October 8, 2005, a 7.6-magnitude quake 95 kmnortheast of Islamabad killed over 70,000 people.

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