Earthquake 'expected' in Pakistan?

'Predictions' of massive earthquake in Pakistan and India have gone viral on social media

Web Desk
Zarmeen Zehra
Screengrab of a video of the Dutch researcher who predicted earthquakes in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. — Twitter
Screengrab of a video of the Dutch researcher who predicted earthquakes in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. — Twitter

ISLAMABAD: National Seismic Monitoring Centre (NSMC) Director Zahid Rafi on Wednesday rejected predictions of an impending earthquake in Pakistan that have been going viral on social media.

Talking to Geo News, the director said that earthquakes are a natural phenomenon and no one can know in advance when they will strike.

“If the earthquake was known in advance, there would not have been so much loss of life and property in Turkey,” the NSMC chief said.

He further asserted that mild tremors were nothing new in the country. “Mild quakes occur in Pakistan and will continue to happen.”

In an attempt to assuage people’s fears, he added that there was no similarity between the fault lines in Turkey and Pakistan.

Stressing that there was no “scientific basis” for the predictions that had been doing rounds on social media, the director emphatically rejected the predictions that an earthquake like that which has recently shaken Turkey and Syria, was in the offing in Pakistan over the next few days.

On Monday an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 shook Turkey and Syria and was followed by a second one almost as powerful hours later, toppling thousands of buildings including hospitals, schools and apartment blocks.

The current death toll from the quake stands at over 11,000, while tens of thousands of people were injured or left homeless in cities in Turkey and northern Syria.

'Always possible'

In a detailed statement later, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said the devastating earthquakes in Turkey have created panic in Pakistan.

However, the statement said, “the PMD was running its own seismic monitoring network comprising 30 remote monitoring stations and recording earthquakes occurring within and surrounding areas every day. These quakes are of small to medium range magnitudes," while reiterating that "earthquake is a purely natural phenomenon".

"Pakistan and neighbouring countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan have experienced many major damaging earthquakes in the past. These countries are earthquake-prone countries and PMD seismic monitoring network is recording more tha[n] 100 quakes every day”.

The PMD also asserted that connecting the devastating Turkish earthquake to Pakistan was not scientifically correct and said: “The possibility of the occurrence of a major earthquake in Pakistan and surrounding countries is always there but when and where or the timeline of happening is beyond the reach of existing technology.”

It also clarified that the prevailing method of exploring the potential of an earthquake fault is to find the seismic hazard of the areas by using previous seismic data.

"Seismic hazard assessment is an effort by earth scientists to quantify seismic hazard and its associated uncertainty in time and space and to provide seismic hazard estimates for seismic risk assessment and other applications but nothing concerned with the prediction of earthquakes."

Perturbing predictions

It must be noted that since yesterday predictions of a massive earthquake have been circulating on social media. Twitter users have been sharing predictions of a potential earthquake in India and Pakistan made by a Dutch researcher.

As the video circulation surfaced, numerous people retweeted it.

One user shared a clip of the video, writing, “Dutch Researcher, who predicted Turkey-Syria earthquake had made similar predictions about Pakistan India and Afghanistan.”

Another user shared the same video with the caption: “Prediction about earthquake in Pakistan. May Allah SWT have mercy on us. Ameen."

Yet another Twitter user shared a list of other countries that the researcher claimed may face earthquakes and wrote: “He predicted [the] same major earthquake in Iran & Italy. Also said earthquake[s] will happen in Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia. Surely without attaching a time frame, those earthquakes will occur anytime. He said 5 cities, it's now 10+.”

As the news spread, so did the panic with people fretting regarding the measures taken by the government to prepare for the quake.

“There is a prediction of such extent earthquake in Pakistan as well within [the] next 72 hours, what government and SS has planned for that? Have they done anything regarding precautionary measures? P.S: Only Allah knows what's going to happen but we should be well prepared.”