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KARACHI, June 10: Most parts of the country are in the grip of a heatwave, with a stagnant low-pressure cell driving dry desert winds from the neighbouring Indian state of Rajasthan, pushing the mercury in some places to as high as 51.6 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

At least nine people are reported to have died of sunstroke in Sindh and Punjab. The sizzling weather is likely to continue for three to four more days, according to the Met office.

The highest temperature was recorded in Sibi in Balochistan where mercury touched 51.6°C, while neighbouring areas in Sindh – Larkana, Jacobabad and Nawabshah – sizzled at 50.5°C while the Rohri and Padidan braved 49°C and 48.5°C, respectively. At least three people died in Dadu and Larkana.

While the temperature in Lahore remained slightly lower at 48°C, it broke a 26-year record; the mercury had touched the 47.8°C mark in 1972.

The heatwave has claimed at least six lives in the Punjab capital – three each on Saturday and Sunday. Being a coastal city, Karachi is probably the luckiest where the maximum temperature was recorded at 35°C and the minimum 29.3°C on Sunday with humidity at 67 per cent.

Pakistan Meteorological Department’s chief told Dawn from Islamabad: “Although June has always been the hottest month of the year, but the current spell is unusually severe.”

He said that because of high temperatures, a seasonal low pressure has developed over the country which was bringing in air from the neighbouring desert areas of Rajasthan (India) and Cholistan.