Connect to share and comment
A powerful earthquake struck near Dalbandin in southwestern Pakistan early Wednesday morning. The quake could be felt as far away as India and the Gulf.
A powerful earthquake struck Pakistan early Wednesday morning, causing people to run from their homes reciting verses of the Koran. Strong tremors from the earthquake, which hit about 50 kilometers west of Dalbandin, could be felt as far away as India and the Gulf.
The earthquake, which measured 7.2 magnitude, hit at 1:23 am in a remote and sparsely populated area in Baluchistan province, near the border with Afghanistan and Iran. It struck about 50 kilometers from Dalbandin, a town so remote Pakistan used the nearby Chagai hills for nuclear tests in 1998.
There were no initial reports of casualties, AFP reports.
Karachi residents left their homes to be safe, but no major damage was reported.
"I was watching TV when suddenly the TV screen began shaking. Then I realized it was a very strong earthquake," Saeeda Jehan, a mother of six in Karachi told CBS News. "Everyone said doomsday has arrived. But I was concerned about my children. It took me 10 minutes to wake them all up before we could all step out."
Tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi, about 1,3000 kilometers away, other cities in northwestern India, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The earthquake comes as Pakistan struggles not to collapse in the face of deep divides within the country and pressure from the United States to extend its cooperation in the fight against militants in Afghanistan. The assassination of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, two weeks ago raised further fears about the fragility of the country. The troubled nation is also still recovering from floods that left more than 10 million people homeless last year.
"A humanitarian crisis in Pakistan caused by the earthquake will only undermine U.S. interests," a western diplomat in Islamabad told CBS News. "As it is, we must all worry about instability in a country armed with nuclear weapons and with political and economic problems," he added.
A 2005 earthquake devastated Pakistan, killing more than 70,000 people, leaving 3 million homeless and becoming one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
Follow GlobalPost on Twitter: @GlobalPost