ISLAMABAD Rivers burst their banks and floodgates of the small and principal dams were partially opened on Thursday following torrential rains across the country, first major downpour of the monsoon that caused widespread damage to life and property. Nearly 200 people have been killed so far while hundreds and thousands have either been displaced or remained stranded, besides losses to property, crops and livestock. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest turned out to be the most hit region where over 162 people have died so far due to storms and flash floods. Most of the recent casualties were in the picturesque Swat valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where torrential rains caused the Swat River to burst its bank. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday telephoned Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Hoti and expressed his grief over the loss of life and property. Gilani instructed the Chairman NDMA to provide relief to the affected population in coordination with the Provincial Government. He said the whole nation was mourning the loss of precious lives in the plane crash and of many others who died in the flood-affected areas. He urged all political parties to join hands to mitigate the sufferings of the people due to these natural calamities. Pakistan Army has already mobilised its available troops for rescue and relief operations while the Federal Government has alerted National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), civic and district authorities to tackle the exceptional floods in Jhelum, Indus and Kabul Rivers. In the Federal Capital and downtown Rawalpindi, torrential rains that has been continued since Thursday morning washed entire main roads connecting the highways, while streets in some residential areas were submerged. Floodgates of the main Rawal Lake and Simly Dam were partially opened on late Thursday evening to discharge water in a bid to avert any serious eventuality. Met Office has predicted exceptional high flood in the Jhelum River while water level in the Mangla Dam has exceeded the limit and authorities have partially opened the floodgates to control the water situation. Similarly, authorities at the Warsak Dam over the Kabul River have also partially opened the floodgates to tackle the water situation, while Tarbella and Khanpur Dams authorities have been alerted to keep vigilance. The Met Department said that there had been heavy rains largely in the northern parts of the country during the past 24 hours with Peshawar breaking the record to 312 mm downpour, whereas Islamabad has so far received 190 mm of rains. It further informed that there have been nominal rains recorded in southern Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh during the last 24 hours. The Met Department has forecast that the current thrust of ongoing rains would continue in upper Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir while scattered rains/thundershowers are likely in south Punjab and northeastern Balochistan on Friday (today).