Islamabad: A moderate 5.3 magnitude earthquake jolted parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region in northern Pakistan, including the provincial capital of Peshawar on Saturday, triggering panic among residents.

The earthquake struck around 6.15 pm with a depth of 180 kilometers along the Afghan-Tajikistan border.

Tremors were felt in the Swat valley, Peshawar, Lower Dir, Swabi, Nowshera, Chitral, Mardan, Bajaur, Malakand, Pabbi, Akora, the capital city of Islamabad and its surroundings, the Pakistan Meteorological Department said.

Gripped by fear and panic, scores of residents scampered out of their homes to seek refuge in safer places, the Dawn newspaper reported.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, there have been no reports of loss of lives or property so far.

On December 24 last year, an earthquake of 4.2 magnitude hit Swat and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It had a depth of 226 kilometers with the epicentre in the Hindu Kush Mountain range, according to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre.

Another earthquake of 4.1 magnitude had jolted parts of Karachi on December 8 last year. Its epicentre was 15km north of DHA Karachi and had a depth of 15 km, the monitoring centre said.

Pakistan is the fifth most earthquake-prone country in the world.

The country straddles between the Indian and the Eurasian tectonic plates and is located on the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone, which is roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front.

This makes it highly susceptible to earthquakes.

The region has the highest rate of seismicity and experiences the strongest earthquakes in the Himalayan region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults.

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