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A tall man with a not-so-tall future

A tall man with a not-so-tall future

SAHIWAL: Low ceilings and awkward hugs and handshakes. Haq Nawaz, who is 7’9 and a resident of Bahawalpur, is facing difficulties in fitting in everything. His extraordinary height, chronic poverty and health problems do not seem to have a tall future for him.

“I have no job,” said Nawaz during a chat with this correspondent. He was in the Sahiwal city where he visited private schools and met a few individuals to collect donations for himself.

He is 26 years old and one can see a slight tremor in his hands and head.

“It’s so because I’m underfed,” he says with a slight tremor in his voice. He shows his hands and legs, which according to him, are developing a deformity because of the shortage of calcium.

He says he has been prescribed a good intake of multivitamins and calcium supplements along with 4,000-5,000 calories every day.

With such a huge dietary requirements, Nawaz has to live on a Rs2,000 stipend, which he gets as a Razakar of Bahawalpur police. When he has to travel from one place to other as part of his duty, he faces lots of problem in fitting in a bus, and staying and moving around.

He said he needs to be fed after every two hours which would cost him Rs25,000-30,000 a month.

Nawaz belongs to a landless, peasant family. His father died six years ago, while his mother, Zainib Bibi, teaches the Holy Quran to village children for an earning.

Of two brothers and three sisters, Nawaz is the eldest.

He dropped out of the school after class five because of poverty. His height started growing when he was 16, and it is still growing.

To meet his monetary and dietary requirements, Nawaz travels schools and offices from district to district where he gets donations and tips.

Travelling from one place to another is an uphill task for him. He travelled from Bahawalpur to Sahiwal on his motorcycle and took 30 hours to cover 236 kilometres.

His uncle, Safdar, also travels with him. He said during his visit to Sahiwal, each school gave Rs3,000 to 4,000.

Other than dietary requirements, he needs Rs700,000 for his brain tumor surgery. Doctors of the Victoria Hospital, Bahwalpur, prescribed him a brain tumor surgery to stem the growth of hormones.

He says he does not know how he will arrange the money.

He said he tried to meet Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif thrice at Jati Umra but failed to reach him every time.

In 2012, when the chief minister visited Bahawalpur, he stood and waved his hands to seek Mr Sharif’s attention.

“Every one noticed me except for the chief minister, who chose to ignore me deliberately,” he added.

He says the Sindh government offered a job in PIA to a Sindhi tall man, Nazir Sumero, who is 7’10.

“Why not such arrangements are done by the Punjab government for me?” Nawaz questions.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd , 2015

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