ISLAMABAD: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad on Saturday afternoon, almost three months after more than 300 people were killed by a quake in the same mountainous region.
The epicentre of the earthquake was the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan (36.50N, 71.09E), with a focal dept of 175kms.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured tremors of 5.3 magnitude.
Strong shocks were felt in the provincial capital Peshawar and Islamabad at 13:37 local time, driving panic-stricken residents out of their offices and residences.
The tremors were alsoreported from Swat, Lower Dir, Chitral, Rawalpindi, Shaikhupura, Chiniot, Muzaffarabad, MuzaffarGarh, Noshera, Attock , Hangu, Dina, Shangla and adjoining areas.
With harsh winter weather setting in, any widespread destruction of buildings and houses would create severe hardship.
No reports of casualties or damage were received.
The latest earthquake comes nearly three months after a 7.2 earthquake jolted major cities of Pakistan, including the northern areas, leaving nearly 300 dead and around 3,000 injured due to building collapses, landslides, stampedes and other quake related incidents.
Pakistan is located in the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone, which is roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults.
Active faults and resultant earthquakes in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan are the result of convergence between the S. Asian and Eurasia plates.