A massive earthquake of 7.3 magnitude shook Balochistan and some parts of Sindh and Punjab at 1.23 a.m. on Wednesday, raising the spectre of the devastating 2005 quake in “Azad Jammu & Kashmir” that killed over 70,000 people. No casualties were reported from across the country till evening but the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said houses were damaged around the epicentre near the Afghanistan border.

Not much damage was caused to life and property because the epicentre near Dalbandin is sparsely populated.

According to NDMA, a helicopter survey of the area in the morning did not indicate any significant damage due to the quake which was felt as far as Delhi to the east of the epicentre and Dubai to the west.

Given the intensity of the quake, the Army and Air Force were put on high alert and medical teams placed on stand-by in Balochistan's capital, Quetta, for deployment on short notice. Meanwhile, tents, ready-to-eat meals and blankets were dispatched to the affected areas by air and additional material was being transported by road to Dalbandin from Quetta.

The U.S., China and Japan besides Turkish Red Crescent and AUSAID — the Australian government's overseas aid programme — have offered assistance to NDMA in providing relief and rehabilitation but this has not been accepted as yet, according to the Authority which is monitoring the situation in coordination with provincial authorities, the armed forces and humanitarian agencies.