Cheating spouses keep private detective busy

Private agency finds niche market in infidelity.

Reuters October 03, 2012


Twenty-three years of military service come in handy when Masood Haider gets a call from a suspicious spouse.

He quickly dispatches a surveillance team to keep tabs on the partner believed to be heading off for an illicit rendezvous.

In Pakistan, where arranged marriages are common and adultery can be punished by death, it is an illustration of how much the society is changing that Haider’s private detective agency exists at all.

“What was taken as taboo 20 to 25 years ago is no more taken that way,” said Haider, 53, a former army pilot who founded FactFinders, Pakistan’s first licensed private detective agency.

The business of exposing cheating spouses, he says, is growing.

“People simply understand that if two people cannot live under one roof and they cannot co-exist peacefully it is better to disengage and carry on with their lives instead of dragging it on.”

Women are becoming increasingly assertive about confronting unfaithful spouses. So are men, according to Haider.

“When I opened this company I was not sure whether Pakistani men would confide in me regarding their wives,” said Haider, in his spacious office in the city of Lahore where he began his venture on Valentine’s Day two years ago.

“But to my surprise the first case I received was of a cheating wife.”

His services do not come cheap. The down payment for FactFinders to check on an unfaithful partner is $5,500, out of reach of most people who on average bring home just $60 a month.

Clients are mostly wealthy Pakistanis who live here, or in Britain, the United States or United Arab Emirates and want to keep a close eye on spouses or fiancées from afar.

His investigations are not restricted to cases of infidelity.

One man, for example, desperately wanted him to retrieve a stolen computer with compromising pictures of his naked wife.

But it is mostly husbands or wives tormented by suspicion of cheating who turn to Haider.

His website promises to “Off load your burden with full confidentiality” with the suggestive image of a turned-over high heeled-shoe beside a wine glass. To reinforce the point, another photograph shows a luxury car splashed with graffiti from an angry wife or girlfriend.

Emergency hotline

For the really desperate, there is an emergency hotline.

“I think if women could afford it, 80 percent of Pakistani women would be here,” said one woman client.

“In our culture women are discouraged. They are expected to suck it up and be quiet about it. I am done with the being scared part.”

His staff of 30, scattered across Pakistan with a few in Britain for clients there, are recruited from retired military and police officers and the financial industry.

Fatima, 32, worked for Britain’s Scotland Yard before joining Haidar’s outfit, where she does research and manages surveillance teams and other operations.

“In a country like Pakistan, we should promote such things (businesses). There is nothing bad about it.” Some philanderers go to creative extremes to avoid being caught.  

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.


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Amnah | 8 years ago | Reply

Really good to know such things are coming up, where else can anyone go with their personal problems, family? Mulana? Taveez ganda? there is no support in modern society. To remove suspicion or make decisions you need evidence or learn to forgive and live happily ever after.

curious | 8 years ago | Reply

My life is so boring and I'm sick of Bold and Beautiful, haven't seen it in years. I want a job with this company so that I can be entertained as there is definitely spice going on in these lives that need to be spied upon. Great business idea, original and much needed in this day and age.

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