A court in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday remanded in custody a couple accused of killing their infant daughter while allegedly trying to exorcise demons from their house, DPA reported.
Police discovered the infanticide on Monday when they raided a house in the city's congested Korangi neighbourhood after local people suspected that militants might be using the building as their hideout.
The Geo News private television channel said the court granted the week-long remand for interrogation and adjourned their trial until January 18.
Geo cited the father, Mohammad Nadeem, as saying that he and his family had gone into a so-called prayer session late December after having visions.
Nadeem, his wife and two daughters did not eat anything and never left the room.
During that time, the 4-month-old daughter died and was buried in the same room by the parents. The cause of death has not yet been established.
Nadeem reportedly said that he and his wife had dreams in which a "spiritual healer" asked them to "silence" the child to ward off evil spirits.
"The ear and the nose of our younger daughter had turned black due to the spell. Moreover, some flying objects were trying to take away these children. That was the reason the younger daughter was martyred and the elder daughter was tied up," he told investigators.
Nadeem resisted the police raid on Monday, but officers broke into the house and found him "in a trance surrounded by earthen lamps," the Daily Times newspaper quoted a senior police officer, Rana Pervez Mehmood, as saying.
Police searched the house, finding Nadeem's wife, Sana, and their 4-year-old daughter, Mariam, in another locked room. The frail child was trussed up.
The police also noticed a strong stench and later found an infant's corpse buried in a shallow pit.
Many Pakistanis believe in superstitions and often turn to mostly fake faith healers to exorcise evil.