Pakistan on Monday observed the second anniversary of the deadly earthquake on October 8 in 2005 that killed thousands in its northern territories, as Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz described the day as one of the most tragic in the nation's history.
Traffic came to a standstill throughout the country at 8.52 am local time and one minute's silence was observed in memory of the victims of the devastating quake of Oct 8, 2005, that left tens of thousands of people dead, Online news agency said.
In Pakistani Kashmir, a public holiday was observed and the day was declared a day of national mourning.
Relatives of those killed in the quake gathered at the graveyards to pay homage to their lost ones. Senior government officials visited the affected areas and expressed their solidarity with the bereaved families.
Officials claimed about half of the proposed quake-resistant homes have been rebuilt and another 350,000 are under construction across the rugged terrain of Pakistani Kashmir and North-West Frontier Province.
On Oct 8, 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale with its epicentre in Muzaffarabad town of Pakistani Kashmir hit the region, leaving over 55,000 people dead. Nearly 1,400 people died in Jammu and Kashmir state in the quake. Millions were rendered homeless in the worst affected areas on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, during President Pervez Musharraf's visit on Monday to Muzaffarabad on the occasion of the anniversary, an escorting army helicopter crashed while force landing after developing a technical snag. Four soldiers on board died and Musharraf's spokesman was among another four critically injured, army officials said.