Cheating spouses keep Pakistani private detective busy

Mon Oct 1, 2012 6:39pm EDT
 
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By Aisha Chowdhry

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - 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 deeply conservative Muslim 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."

Pakistan portrays itself as a progressive Islamic nation. But since the 1980s, it has been drifting towards a more conservative interpretation of Islam that has reshaped the political landscape, fuelled militancy and cowed champions of tolerance into silence.

Adultery is a capital crime under Islamic Sharia law. Death sentences are rarely carried out by the state but people sometimes do take matters into their own hands, especially in rural areas.   Continued...

 
A man displays brochures to be photographed at the office of FactFinders, a private detective agency, in Lahore September 28, 2012. FactFinders, Pakistan's first licensed private detective agency, is founded by Masood Haider, a former army pilot. 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. In deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan where arranged marriages are common and adultery can be punished by death, the existence of Haider's private detective agency is an illustration of how much the society is changing. Picture taken on September 28, 2012. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza