However, two women—one in Jacobabad in Sindh province and another at Quetta in Balochistan—died following heart attacks during the quake while three persons were taken to hospital at Multan in Punjab after suffering cardiac arrest, Geo News channel reported.
Initial reports indicated that around 200 mud houses near the epicentre of the quake in Balochistan province were damaged though there were no reports of loss of lives, National Disaster Management Authority Chairman Nadeem Ahmed said. The earthquake occurred at 1:23 am local time at a depth of 84 km, the US Geological Survey said. Its epicentre was 45 km west of Dalbandin, a remote town in Balochistan with a population of 15,000.
Pakistan Meteorological Department Director Arif Mahmood said the quake was felt in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan and parts of Iran and India. He said quakes of such magnitude in the past were followed by aftershocks. Footage on television showed people fleeing their homes in several cities, including Quetta and Karachi, and gathering in streets and open spaces. Some men prayed while women read from the Quran.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to keep relief provisions ready for dealing with any emergency in the aftermath of the quake.
He directed the NDMA to rush tents, blankets, medicine and food to Quetta as a “standby arrangement for quick delivery if required”.
Gilani said army, paramilitary and law enforcement personnel should be sent to make an assessment of quake-affected districts. Officials said there were apparently no casualties at the epicentre because the region is sparsely populated.
The temblor shook the cities of Hyderabad, Quetta, Jaffarabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan and Sargodha. Residents of high-rise buildings in Karachi rushed out into the streets. People in places as far apart as Dubai and New Delhi, 1,300 km from the epicentre, felt the quake.
The Pacific Tsunami Centre said the onshore quake had not triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.