"An earthquake measuring 6.8 on Richter scale was recorded in our observatory at 2:24am (21:24 GMT)," said an official from the Pakistan Meteorological Department early on Tuesday.

He said the epicentre of the earthquake was some 450km north of Islamabad in the Hindukush mountain range in Afghanistan.

He said that although the quake was of a high intensity, its epicentre was nearly 200km underground - meaning it was unlikely to cause much damage.

An official from the private Edhi Rescue network said in Islamabad that there were no reports of casualties and that there had been no calls to its emergency ambulance network across the country.

The jolts were felt in Pakistani cities of Chitral, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Lahore, Gilgit and Abbottabad.