The first time I went through an earthquake was in 1968. I was in bed in a hotel in Swat reading a book when I felt that someone was trying to move my bed. I rushed out of the room and found that many people had already run out of the hotel. Since then I have felt many tremors in Karachi, one on the Indian Republic Day which struck Gujarat (the Indian state where I was born). Since the place was more than a hundred kilometers from Karachi, it must have been a very powerful quake. I remember Musharraf sent a plane with relief goods but it was not accepted by the Indians (Modi was the chief minister of Gujrat at the time). I have also been through mild earthquakes in recent years after moving to my present apartment. 

But the most powerful one was in 1986 (around 5.8 on the Richter scale). I had heard dogs in my salt works making peculiar sounds (not barking, but wailing) and I had sensed that something was wrong. Next day I was in my flat around mid-day when the building started shaking violently (it was a three-storey building and I was on the second floor). I rushed out with my wife and kids, it took us a while to get to the ground floor as the narrow staircase was full of old and young people. I've never been so scared in my life.

I once read that the Chinese were successful in predicting one quake and had got vacated a small town before it was struck. I do not know of any other quakes which they may have predicted. Their method is to have teams monitoring the behavior of animals (like lizards and dogs) who display abnormal behavior a few hours before a quake. 

The leader of a religious party in Pakistan (Qazi Hussain Ahmed of the Jamat-e-Islami) once said that earthquakes occur only in those places where the public engages in what he called "obscenity" (he meant women who are promiscuous or even display too much skin). I asked him (through a newspaper letter) why earthquakes happen under the oceans and even on the moon, which are called moon-quakes. Again, why did so many people die in a huge earthquake in the northern areas of the country where the most religious people in the country happen to live? My late uncle (who was a member of the party) told me that among the dead were some immoral women who had been in a hotel at the time. How did he know they were immoral? Were all the hundreds of dead people also immoral? No answer. But a gym coach I knew explained it this way: "When Allah decides to punish some bad people, a few good ones also die but they go straight to Paradise".