KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A major earthquake struck Tuesday in southwestern Pakistan, sending people fleeing into the streets and praying for their lives as buildings swayed, officials said.
The province in southwest Pakistan is the country's largest but also the least populated. There was no immediate word on casualties.
The magnitude 7.7 quake hit near the town of Khuzdar in Baluchistan province, said Pakistan's chief meteorologist, Mohammed Riaz. The U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo. reported the quake as magnitude 7.8.
The quake struck in a remote area of Baluchistan with little population, said the head of Pakistan's Earthquake Center, Zahid Rafi. He warned of possible aftershocks.
The quake was felt in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, along the Arabian Sea. People in the city's tall office buildings rushed into the streets following the tremor, and Pakistani television showed images of lights swaying as the earth moved.
TV footage showed residents in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, coming out of their homes and offices in a panic. One man told Pakistan's Dunya television channel that he was sitting in his office when the building started shaking.
Other residents said people started reciting verses from Islam's holy book, the Quran, when the quake began.
Baluchistan and neighboring Iran are prone to earthquakes.
A magnitude 7.8, which was centered just across the border in Iran, killed at least 35 people in Pakistan last April.