ISLAMABAD: At least three people were killed when a 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck northern Pakistan early Saturday, officials said.

The United States Geological Survey said the tremor struck at a relatively shallow depth of 26 kilometres with its epicentre located 15 kilometres (nine miles) to the northeast of Islamabad.

An official in the northwestern town of Abbottabad, around 50 kilometres from Islamabad, said two women and a nine-year-old child were killed when their house collapsed.

“A house built of mud in the outskirts of Abbottabad collapsed due to the earthquake, leaving two women and a young boy dead and a minor girl injured,” senior police official Sher Akbar Khan told AFP.

The women were aged 25 and 48 and the boy nine. The injured girl was about six, Khan said.

The quake was felt in several cities in the provinces of eastern Punjab and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ghulam Rasul, a senior meteorologist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department, told AFP.

Residents of the Pakistani capital reported buildings and vehicles shaking after the quake hit at 1:59 am local time (2059 GMT Friday).

Local meteorologists measured the quake at 4.6 magnitude with a depth of just 10 kilometres.

Pakistan straddles part of the boundary where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, making the country susceptible to earthquakes.

It was hit by a 7.6-magnitude quake on October 8, 2005 that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

A 7.7-magnitude earthquake devastated several areas in southwestern Baluchistan province in September 2013, killing at least 370 people and leaving 100,000 homeless. (AFP)

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