Free Press Journal

Pakistan’s solar kids baffle medical community


Karachi: The mystery illness of three Pakistani brothers has baffled the medical community which is trying to diagnose their ailment that leaves them paralysed after sunset.

The three –Shoaib, Rashid and Ilyas Hashim aged one, nine and 13 — are residents of Mian Kundi, a village some 15 kilometres from Quetta. They are like normal kids in the day full of energy but once the sun sets their bodies are unable to move.

“Known as the solar kids” in their village the children get back their energy and start moving around once the sun rises everyday. The three have been admitted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) in Islamabad for tests and possible treatment.

“It is a rare medical condition we have never encountered before and we investigating it,” Dr Javed Akram the Chancellor at Pims said. A nine-member board was formed to conduct tests and blood samples and test reports have already been sent to thirteen international collaborators, including Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins Medical Institute in the US and Guys Hospital in London.

Hundreds of tests have been carried out, but to no avail. According to the early diagnoses, the three may be suffering from a congenital disease called Masthenia Syndrome which is a rare illness with only 600 cases reported all over the world so far.

“From what we known theirs is the first reported case of such an illness in Pakistan and we are trying to solve this condition with the help of medical science,” he said.

“Their bodies are clearly synced to the movement of the sun.” Their father Hashim, who works as a security guard at IT University in Quetta, has told doctors his sons were born with the condition.

“Their bodies appeared to be dependent on sunlight from birth. When villagers heard about them, they were amazed, and they were christened ‘solar kids’,” Hashim told a television channel.

Interestingly Hashim, married to his first cousin, has three more children who are normal including two boys and a girl. “They are like normal children and two of them go to study at the local madrassa everyday. The sun rays appear to give them energy and life. But as soon as the sun starts setting in their strength and energy appears to vanish and their bodies are paralysed,” he said.

The children attend classes at the seminary and also play cricket with their siblings and friends.They also tend to help out their father out with his part-time livestock farming, tending to the sheep and goats.

Dr Akram said his team is working with a team of 27 Pakistanis and 13 international doctors to treat the three brothers. “What is good is their illness has shown no signs of worsening with time and there might be a cure for them,” he added.