The India Meteorological Department said the epicentre of the quake lay in the Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan. The US Geological Survey said the epicentre lay 45 km south-southwest of Jarm in Afghanistan, around 240 km from capital Kabul. It put the intensity at 7.7 on the Richter scale.

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The Pakistani Met Department put the intensity even higher -- at 8.1.The tremors jolted the whole of northern India including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

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Everywhere, tens of thousands of people fled out of their homes and high-rise buildings. In the capital, Delhi Metro immediately suspended its services. The quake also affected telecom services in Delhi and neighbouring regions as hundreds of thousands of people began telephoning one another.

The Pakistani media said the quake was felt in all major cities including Islamabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi.

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