At least 37 people have lost their lives while 160 received severe and 360 sustained minor injuries in an earthquake that rattled Azad Kashmir , local officials said, but they added that rescue work was in full swing and panic was subsiding.

According to details, the tremors have completely damaged 270 houses whereas 2709 buildings were partially destroyed.

Tuesday’s earthquake leveled homes and shops and split open roads in an area between the towns of Jhelum and Mirpur to the north, which is in Pakistan’s portion of Kashmir.

“The situation is slowly returning to normal, the level of panic is now less among the people, although an aftershock was felt at night,” said Sardar Gulfaraz Khan, a police deputy inspector general. Most of the damage happened in villages where old houses collapsed, Khan said.

The devastating earthquake in Azad Kashmir has damaged more than 450 houses. According to Chairman NDMA, the earthquake severely affected the 14-kilometer long road of Jatlan while restoration work is under process.

Many people from the area slept outdoors overnight and some were returning home on Wednesday morning to collect belongings and inspect damage, according to a Reuters witness.

Troops and other emergency responders carried out rescue operations through the night, with engineers starting repair work on a key roadway that was severely damaged, the Pakistan Army’s communications arm said. Three bridges were damaged.

The military had earlier estimated that 22 people were dead and 160 injured after the earthquake.

Meteorological Department said that according to its preliminary assessment, the epicentre of the 5.8-magnitude quake was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in the Punjab province.

"The quake was 10 kilometres deep and was felt in most of Punjab province, some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The worst hit was Mirpur, Azad Kashmir ," Chief meteorologist Muhammad Riaz told.

In other parts of the country, tremors were felt in Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, Chiniot, Jalalpur, Bajaur, Mirpur, Zafarwal, Skardu, Manga Mandi, Kohat, Charsadda,Kamoke, Kasur, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Daska, Gujrat, Sialkot, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Okara, Nowshera, Attock, Jhang and adjoining areas.

The tremors were also felt Daska, Faisalabad, Chiniot, Mansehra, Batagram, Torghar, Mirpur (Azad Kashmir) Bhimber, Jhelum, and Mandi Bahauddin.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a tweet, offered condolences to families of the victims and said he had directed the government to quickly offer relief efforts and assess damage.

Meteorological Department said that according to its preliminary assessment, the epicentre of the 5.8-magnitude quake was located near the mountainous city of Jehlum in the Punjab province.

"The quake was 10 kilometres deep and was felt in most of Punjab province, some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The worst hit was Mirpur, Azad Kashmir ," Chief meteorologist Muhammad Riaz told.

In other parts of the country, tremors were felt in Sheikhupura, Hafizabad, Chiniot, Jalalpur, Bajaur, Mirpur, Zafarwal, Skardu, Manga Mandi, Kohat, Charsadda,Kamoke, Kasur, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Daska, Gujrat, Sialkot, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Chitral, Malakand, Multan, Shangla, Okara, Nowshera, Attock, Jhang and adjoining areas.

The tremors were also felt Daska, Faisalabad, Chiniot, Mansehra, Batagram, Torghar, Mirpur (Azad Kashmir) Bhimber, Jhelum, and Mandi Bahauddin.