PESHAWAR: A pregnant Pakistani woman have had a nail hammered into her head by a faith healer who said it would guarantee she gave birth to a boy.
An X-ray showed the five-centimetre nail had pierced the top of the woman’s forehead but missed her brain.
Doctor Haider Khan said a hammer or other heavy object was used to knock it in.
Exploitative faith healers are common across Pakistan despite the disapproval of Islam.
In South Asia, a son is often believed to offer better financial security to parents than daughters.
The mother of three daughters said she was pregnant with another girl, the doctor added.
Local media said that her husband had allegedly threatened to leave her if she gave birth to a fourth girl.
The woman arrived at a hospital in the north western city of Peshawar after trying to extract the nail herself with pliers, the doctor said.
“She was fully conscious, but was in immense pain,” said Khan, who removed the spike.
The woman initially told hospital staff she had hammered the nail into her head herself on the advice of the faith healer, before later saying he had carried out the act.
Peshawar police are trying to track down the woman in order to question him.
“We have collected the CCTV footage from the hospital and hope to reach the woman soon,” city police chief Abbas Ahsan said.
“We will soon lay our hands on the sorcerer,” he said.