7′ 2″ Woman Too Tall for Pakistan?

Posted on October 17, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Society, Women
Total Views: 35907


Adil Najam

The Daily Times (18 October, 2006) reports (based on a report in the UK tabloid The Daily Mail) that “A Pakistani woman seven feet and two inches tall is to live in Britain on benefits after claiming asylum because she is ‘too tall’ to return home.”

Zainab Bibi, 33, claims she faces constant persecution and ridicule in her own country over her height. She has lodged an asylum claim with the Home Office and has already been granted a two-year visa to remain in the UK. Zainab, who in 2003 held the title of the tallest woman in the world, plans to live off benefits and take advantage of free NHS healthcare. Zainab lodged her application for asylum claiming she was repeatedly attacked in her hometown Toba Tek Singh near Faisalabad. She said youths in her hometown threw stones and rocks at her and often pulled at her clothing. She added that one man hit her with a stick breaking her wrist and now she is too afraid to return to Pakistan for fear of further attacks. After flying in from Pakistan, she claimed asylum in June and was given a council flat in Stockport, Greater Manchester, where she pays no rent or council tax and receives £40 a week in benefits. Zainab’ss case is likely to be heard next year, according to the Daily Mail.

Years ago when I was very young I remember meeting Alam Channa, then the tallest man in the world. I still have a photograph with him. I remember that instead of being awed by this ‘world record holder’ that everyone was proud of, I felt really bad and sad for this gentle soul and the great discomfort he had to go through (I remember watching him coming out of a small Suzuki 800). Since then, I have never understood the silly glee and shallow pride that some people get out of supposed ‘records’ such as this and, frankly, now I have a very low opinion of most things in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Your Ad Here
I feel sad for Zainab and can only imagine the type of ridicule and taunting that she must have to go through where people start treating her like a ‘tamasha’ rather than a real human being. In Alam Channa’s case it was a medical condition that made him tall, I do not know if it is the same in Zainab’s case.

In a society where just being a woman can sometimes be difficult enough, being a woman who is ‘so different’ and ‘stands out’, quite literally, could possibly not be easy. I wish however, that people in her home town had not chased her away and still wish that somehow we could give her the respect and the ability to lead a normal life within Pakistan. I note in the picture her broad smile and the Pakistan flag she wears proudly around her neck. Could not the image-makers of Pakistan do something better for her than a Council flat and 40 a week?

34 Comments on “7′ 2″ Woman Too Tall for Pakistan?”

  1. MQ says:
    October 17th, 2006 10:45 pm

    The story of Zainab is also a sad commentary on the society that Pakistan is. She was ridiculed and punished just because she looked different than most other people around her.

    I am sure there must be other societies that are equally heartless but it is particulrly sad for Pakistan because we never tire of recounting our virtues.

  2. ahmed says:
    October 17th, 2006 11:57 pm

    AN and MQ:

    I fully and unreservedly agree with you.

  3. Samdani says:
    October 18th, 2006 12:21 am

    I agree fully with the sentiments in your comments in teh last few paragraphs of the post. But just did a quick search on google and it seems that she has been quite controversial alreday about claims about her height and trying to get into the Guiness Book and then also about wanting to sue Guiness Book for money, etc. Cannot figure it out but wonder if there is more to the story here. None of this will change the point in the last paragraph but will certainly weaken her case for asylum at least.

  4. Aisha PZ says:
    October 18th, 2006 2:24 am

    It indeed is a sad commentary on how intolerant our society can be in these situations.

    Adil’s concluding sentiments in his last paragraph are spot on in the larger scheme of things, as her seeking asylum abroad reflects negatively on Pakistan…I do wish that the ‘image-makers’ of Pakistan had the foresight and moxy to hold accountable and reprimand publicly, those who ridicule, discriminate, abuse and terrorize within our society, and stand by and support those who are the victims of these and many other injustices.

    Anyway, it seems as if there is more to her story which dates back to March 2003, as this snipet in Dawn outlines….apparently she was suing GB because they used her photo without permission and she was only trying to claim her rightful dues for being featured there…what seems a bit unclear is the mention in the last para about her travels abroad and her earnings there? Nevertheless, here is that link:

  5. October 18th, 2006 3:07 am

    Ok again everyone here is giving lectures. Is she married? if No then anyone here is willing to marry her rather posting here a ‘Message’?

  6. Yahya says:
    October 18th, 2006 6:04 am

    Here is BBC on this

  7. Asma says:
    October 18th, 2006 6:14 am

    Ok its a valid point raised here regarding her marriage … !

    But still the treatment she got in her town was bad enough … Wishing happy life to her …!

  8. Hassan says:
    October 18th, 2006 10:15 am

    Must confess that I am not convinced by this ‘marry her’ argument. Nice slogan but what does it mean in practice. Are we saying that if no one is willing to marry here then, therefore, we shoudl let the abuse continue? Or, are we saying that becasue no one is willing to marry her therefore it means that society has accepted tthsi treatment and we should do nothing? Or what? Are there not some steps, less tahn marraige that can be taken. How about stopping the kids who throw stones at her? How about recognizing the special ghardships she faces and giving her a national stipend (as the UK will if she gets asylum)? How about inculcating in ourselves and others a sense of human dignity for all, whether they look liek us or not, whetehr they are men or women? Her maltreatment by society seems to be wrong both religiously and socially. It does seem to me that much can be done that coudl make a difference but sometimes its can seem to be easier to make an argument for why things are the way they are and nothing can be done.

    P.S. Before the question comes again, let me add: (1) yes, I am married already, happily; (b) from what I coudl find on teh internet, she is also married, also to a very tall man and they tried for teh record of ‘tallest married couple’

  9. MQ says:
    October 18th, 2006 7:36 am

    [quote comment="4623"]

    “Ok its a valid point raised here regarding her marriage … !”



    I wish you had not responded to the gentleman’s comment. Such comments are best left unanswered.

  10. Yahya says:
    October 18th, 2006 7:44 am

    [quote comment="4626"]

    I wish you had not responded to the gentleman’s comment. Such comments are best left unanswered.[/quote]

    MQ, while we appreciate your continued guardianship, can we not make up our own minds just once in a while? We promise we wont do it too often. :)

  11. MQ says:
    October 18th, 2006 8:07 am


    Please note that I had only expressed a wish and not issued a command or a fatwa.

  12. Talcum says:
    October 18th, 2006 10:42 am

    yes that is biggest dilemma of our society .always problems with ”unusual people”before that was ”Allam channa and now Zainab Bibi.we ignored Allam channa and now we are again repeating same thing with Zainab Bibi.I am sure she will get more respect and care in UK.Best wishes for her.

  13. October 18th, 2006 1:55 pm

    [quote post="365"]I wish you had not responded to the gentleman’s comment. Such comments are best left unanswered[/quote]

    Reality bites Ouch!

  14. October 18th, 2006 2:00 pm

    [quote post="365"]Nice slogan but what does it mean in practice.[/quote]

    it’s not a slogan it was a solution I had proposed for her since according to article she was feeling like an outsider in her hometown. Only relative or specially a husband could help her to bring some happy moments in life. I wonder you as a married man are unable to understand this?

    Since you claimed that she was already married then I think she shouldn’t be worried about society crap unless her husband start treating her as a lowest creature on earth and prove himself yet another hypocrite,coward and cunning Pakistani husband.

  15. Kabir says:
    October 18th, 2006 2:08 pm

    I would like to propose the idea of a “Think Tank” comprised of the attendees of this site and those who posses leadership and a will to bring a positive change.

    Zainab Bibi might have been discriminated in Pakistan but it could have also been exaggerated a bit in order to seek a better lifestyle? I dont know. However! Knowing our society I can take her word for it. In any condition this is a matter of national respect & image.

    Action Needed: We (PK) must bring her back, provide her a respectable lifestyle and also promote her uniqueness and turn it into a success story. The fact is that she is a National Treasure.

    The “Pakistaniat Think Tank” can put pressure on the Foreign Office, PK Consulate and Tasnim Aslam (Spokesperson-foreign affairs, the minister of culture & other related parties to address the issue. If the guided once wont do anything, who will?

  16. Franz says:
    October 18th, 2006 3:32 pm

    I know some of you (Bilal, etc) are involved in ICT and the techie side of development/livelihoods.. might find this from Al Hammond’s Pakistan visit of interest:


  17. October 18th, 2006 4:14 pm

    why some gentlemen act like an angry kid?yaar try to play happily with all ATP members.Does reality bite hard????????????

  18. Maleeha says:
    October 19th, 2006 10:24 pm

    This is truly shameful. I find it SO enraging that we go on an on about how women should be honored, and then drive them out not only from their home but their country! What kind of people are these?

  19. Umar Shah says:
    October 22nd, 2006 1:28 am

    We are a nation of vultures. As a society we feed on the poor and weak. We find that entertaining. Growing up in Pakistan I have on many occasions seen children and even adults gang up on the feeble and dying animals and sometimes even humans. The stories are too heart wrenching to recall in detail. I empathise with Zainab Bibi’s plight. May we grow up as a nation.

  20. nadeem says:
    October 22nd, 2006 4:28 am

    yaa she is my unti she is tallest in pak.but meybe any women in in pak.taller my aunti zainab

  21. Shahzad says:
    October 26th, 2006 8:44 am

    It’s funny, there’s always place for immigrating and asylum seekers in the West.
    Half of us would like to go there, but we still love to criticise the ‘goras’

  22. nadeem says:
    January 19th, 2007 1:19 pm

    hi isee rell zainab she is only 6feet6 inch tall relly she is only 6feet6 i haevd many pics her tall lady zainab mail me

  23. keri says:
    January 24th, 2007 12:10 am

    you look good!! dont listen to anyone telling you different. forget all the bad!! godbless!

  24. biggy says:
    March 11th, 2007 11:31 am

    that lady cme to ma house she lives in bradford
    my anit lookz after her because she has not got any 1 else to look after her. she is a very kind person and the way them ppl truted her was tyt all of the should punished. this is wot she told us that all the mne in the veilag used to kick the shit out of her and nok her out every day untill she could not open her eyes and just leave her there. wot do u all think about pakistan. pakistany tridishon has taken over islam and ppl dont even now about it many ppl think that they are doing the ryt thing but all they doing is turning islam in to sme thing that it is not and makeing ppl diss like islam becaus of wot ppl are doing to each outher and all around the world. many fatherz her killing ther own doughtrs becaus she dose not even wont to get marid to the man he waontz her to wtf is all that about. they are forcing there own kides into geting marid where in islam is that ryt??

    i knw only 1 or 2 ppl will read this but u knw i am ryt even if u just look at the news papers ull see sme thing about a muslim person doing sme thing bad to his own famly or sme shit like that..

  25. lubna says:
    April 8th, 2007 10:02 am

    hi im too tall im lubna form karachi im 6feet6 inchtall women any 1 know any tall women taller than me not zainab ok

  26. AliShah says:
    April 13th, 2007 5:14 pm

    The Tallest Man In The World

    Name : Ajaz Ahmed
    Age : 26 Years Old
    Height : 256 Cm (8’ 4â€

  27. tom wells says:
    July 9th, 2007 2:34 pm

    You know its all lies just to get stay in a richer country, to better your life here. But i agree she does need health care for her special height.

    The daily mail is a pretty much a right wing news paper. Just hope we get a some apna running their own newspapers

  28. shazy says:
    July 9th, 2007 2:41 pm

    We all know news papers like the daily mail are rami gora running them i want to know when anpa people are going to get in the media

    Advance youself pakistan and education is the only way.

    Make cars(adam cars) military equipment, clothes etc

  29. Gregory says:
    July 10th, 2007 10:51 am

    Lets not jump to conclusions and become judge and jury here

  30. Malik Afzal Mahmood says:
    December 10th, 2007 11:16 pm

    I am living in Norway and met her in Manchester when I trevelled From Manchester to Bradford by buss In November 2007.I felt very happy to see Talest women from Pakistan. I trevelled with her from Manchester to Bradford she is innocent and simple
    God bless her. Malik Afzal Mahmood Norway

  31. umer says:
    April 18th, 2008 10:56 am

    Hello guys , wel everybody talk abt zainab and the aurangzaib khan but i want to tell abt myself that i m the tallest man in the world i m exactely 8 feet and 5 inches tall. and Now i m claiming as a tallest man in guiness book of world record. So don’t say abt others . now i m here for my better future and the status.

  32. gal: says:
    September 14th, 2008 12:15 am

    hey zainab,dont wrry,ppl r meant to say stuff wdout thnkng mostly! I can feel wat u r suffrng through, hang in dere n giv ur bst shot! I knw paki ppl dnt appriciate gud stuff until its eradicated! I too suffr wat u r,i dnt hav much hyt still…wateva stands out in crowd,faces prblm….Gosh!its so difficult 2 b a paki woman bt….b yourslf,dnt lose hope n congratulatns 4m me 4 gttng dat tallest woman title! Im proud ov u! U 2 shud b!

  33. Ahmad R. Shahid says:
    September 14th, 2008 9:32 am

    Life surely is sometimes hell for women in Pakistan. But I wonder how that woman would live off

  34. June 21st, 2009 2:17 am


Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)