Children of Shah Daulah

According to local legend, infertile women who pray at Shah Daula's shrine will be granted children, but at a terrible price. The first child will be born with microcephalic and must be given to the shrine, or else any further children will have the same deformity. The word "microcephaly" comes from the Greek, "small head". But in Pakistan, such children are known as chuas or "rat people"

The government in the 1980s stopped the gangs operating at the shrine were removed but 30 years after, there are still children being deliberately used for begging. Many of these people have been sold off by their families to begging mafias, who exploit a tradition that the "rat children" are sacred offerings to Shah Daula, the shrine's 17th century Sufi saint.

Pakistan's government says it has tried to crack down on exploitation of the "chuhas" (Urdu for rats)

Recent medical studies say the most likely cause is that the normally rare recessive genes behind many microcephaly cases crop up with greater frequency because of the common custom of marrying cousins in Pakistan.