The perfect rishta can be expensive

Published: August 6, 2010

Most marriage bureaus are frauds at best

Finding a proper match these days has become an onerous task. People mostly rely on ‘marriage wali’ aunties who keep on advertising in different newspapers.

Most of the marriage bureaus operating in Pakistan are fake. They post ads in newspapers, ask families to fill out registration forms, take a large amount of money and never send a single family. They don’t even bother to pick up your phone when you call them after you have paid their fee.

Quit playing games

Some of my friends have had bad experiences with S Assoc. and Mrs K in Islamabad. S Assoc. ask families to fill a form, charge Rs10,000 or more and never bother to send anyone to their clients. Mrs K registers and charges everyone a hefty amount, but only sends proposals to Kashmiri families. She once sent a family to my friend’s house and it turned out that the family was visiting almost every house in town. To everyone they would say, “Our son is gone for a course and he is in the air force.” Some air force people, who knew them personally, said that the family is fraud and a friend of Mrs K and that she is sending them to almost every client.

A conveniently forgetful shaadi aunty

One day, the mother of an old friend of mine, suggested meeting such a Mrs A, whom she considered a ‘specialist’. Upon calling her the impression that she got was that the lady was very polite and well-mannered. She asked my mother to take me along with her and pay her a visit. She met us very politely, took our numbers and the ‘fee’.  After seven or eight months, my mother gave her a reminder call, “Bhabi, have you done something? We came to your place some months back?”

“I don’t remember you!”she said rudely and hung up the phone quite rudely.

My mother was shocked and asked some other women who had contacted her. Mrs A, apparently only registers ‘beautiful girls’ but takes money from everyone. When my mother contacted her again she replied, “I don’t even remember you and your daughter.” My mom gave up. Last week my mother happened to bring up the topic with some friends at a party. They all said the same about the match-maker being a fraud. They said she had taken money from them and never gotten back. This lady used to have a very good reputation some time back. Sadly, she has lost that now.

Everything is for sale

From four bureaus in the past, the list has now expanded to nine bureaus in the city. But some feel that marriage wali aunties are all frauds. “People are cheated in the name of social services and in getting a legitimate reference but these marriage bureaus only work to make money. The government should take stern action against such marriage bureaus who are openly cheating people in order to earn money,” said a friend of mine.  Many say stated the have paid a lot of money to these marriage bureaus, but haven’t received any response. These bureaus always tell you that these matters “take time.”

The strange thing is that usually one is pays after some service is offered, but these bureaus always charge money first. They justify this by saying that calling people and talking to them incurs a lot of expenses. Does it really cost Rs 10,000 or more to make some calls? We know local call rates all too well.

The lesson is that marriage bureaus are a fraud and raise fake standards for people. When one asks these bureaus about their stance they say that families come to them asking for girls who look like Hollywood stars and models.

These bureaus are privately owned and run, without any government registration. Worried parents of aging girls are their most-frequented clients and ‘victims’. They mostly attract worried parents with their ads in daily newspapers and classified sections on Sundays.

The government must keep a check on such people and should not allow everyone to open bureaus. Each one of them claims to have 15 years of experience and just makes good money without actually doing anything.

Sadaf Fayyaz

Sadaf Fayyaz

A freelance journalist, photographer, blogger and writer's take on life, culture, media and everything else.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sadaf Khan

    Thank God! I didn’t have to rely on one of ’em. :)Recommend

  • Ali Qureshi

    i would have liked the real names to be mentioned. this business has been there for almost a decade, thanks to extreme drift towards materialism, the victims remain mute, there r many people living abroad, come here for a month, make sure they enjoy hefty dinners and “sight seeing” playing with emotions of the families everyday.. I heard about few one is by the name of Mrs Khawaja, operating somewhere near the airport [rwp]. there r many, and its high time we need to pinpoint them, after all this is our least “social contribution” Recommend

  • aisha javaid

    samagh nahi atta kay akhir hum nay appni chader say paoon bahir qun nikal liey hain isi ki waja say achey rishtey nahi miltey.hum nay hi to in RISHTA ANITIES ka hausala berhaya hai aoo aur aa ker hameen looto.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Mrs Khawaja used to live in Chaklala 1(near air port) , now shes shifted to DHA,,,,This chain is mostly operated from Rwp/Isloo….She has a website of hers too, which is operated by her husband…..The list is expanded during past years which is not a good sign…….Recommend

  • Mudassar Khan

    Matchmaking is an industry now. I remember when few years back (back in web 1.0 days), websites like, etc. got popular and they invested lot of money in their advertisements both on TV, Internet and through other platforms. They must have been getting return on investment. Although in Pakistan the trend of using online matchmaking service is very popular, and here these “Rishta Aunts” are more seen roaming here and there.

    Sadaf, you have concluded rightly that government should keep a check on these bureaus. I will suggest a step ahead than this. There should be code of conduct, written document on how these bureaus can operate, license fee and laws in this regard.Recommend

  • Shumaila

    I don’t think laws will help much in this regard. If you’re gullible enough to be scammed, scammed you will be, whether its by rishta aunties, najoomi babas or incompetent quacks.Recommend

  • Arsalan Hassan

    I would like to add something here, first, are we all Muslims? do we believe in Allah? If we believe in Allah then we must not be worried about these things and should not rush to these places where people are sitting to make us fool and get the money from us of becoming fool. Please for God Sake, keep faith in Allah and he will be giving us the best match which we deserve.Recommend

  • Ghausia

    Such bureaus shouldn’t even exist, whether they’re legit or not, its making a mockery of girls, parading them out like they’re exhibited at the zoo, it disgusts me. And this article would’ve been more enjoyable if it had been well-written; too many grammatical mistakes, and a couple of cases of repeated words or rephrased sentences. You’re a good writer, but I think you’re a bit careless when you write. I do wish you’d written about marriage websites as well, they’re the biggest scammers with people putting up false profiles/pictures. I’ve even seen cases in which someone gets a picture of a girl, from some social networking website I guess, and makes a profile for them with the poor girl being oblivious!Recommend

  • Ayesha

    I thought marriage bureaus had lost its charm and business in the presence of websites like! I’m really amazed to read that they still exist.

    Thank you for highlighting this issue!Recommend

  • Umair

    My question is that why dont these people take legal action against these companies and people? Why not call the police and demand action? Im thinking this could only be a few cases of fraud? Anyway even if there are just a few cases, they should still be exposed. Kudos to the writer.Recommend

  • abc

    one complaint i have with this writer she writes on shaadi issues and that too with very poor writing skills. make that two complaints.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    @Shumaila laws dont work,,that is posts are written to make people not to trust these agencies.
    @Arsalan thats what i wana tell parents “have faith”////They force their kids to go to these aunties….
    @Ghausia it goes through the ed stuff and the rest re-phrasing left to them….for some reasons..yeah but the website ones…is there as well….they pick up image of a beautiful lady and dashing boy….and try to attract clients… thatRecommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    @abc this is first piece on tribune on shadi…The rest are on music, academic and corporate world….Means (You have been reading my personal diaries) :P
    @Ayesha and Umair what to say on that? Some are online. Some claim that they have been registered with govt. (false claims). Some run ads on cable as well…..Recommend

  • Khurram Zahid

    As I am associated with background screening company, my advice for people who have been looking for rishta to background check the potential bride groom. NIC, educational certificates, employment history and criminal record should be verified before making any progress in rishta…Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Thanks Khurram….I would quote story of a lady who got engaged to a boy in UAE in 2001,,,(some banker)….The boy was involved in some crime activity (the news papers also published a report on him…)…The lady’s family didnt investigate much….. What the showed as their land (zameen) in Murree was only paper based…No land they owned….Only in papers…..My father investigated her case and informed them……….Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen

    Marriage Bureaus are nothing more than a fruad.

    It is better for people seeking life partner to put an ad in the newspaper with an email address and the response will be unprecedented.

    Then why to go to Marriage Bureaus? Think twice before any one fill up the form.Recommend

  • Malik Usman

    Very very thought provoking.. The author has certainly combined all the experiences of hers into this blog and it was very interesting to go through.. Most of these professionals are a fraud and instead bring more chaos to the young unmarried girls and guys.. Rishtay and Marriages are the outcome of Fate and Qismat..

    Well Done Sadaf Fayyaz.. Keep writing and updating us about the social evils..!!!Recommend

  • Muhammad Wasif Javed

    Nice to see you again coming up with an another social issue which is keep on growing with no check & balance as-usual by the govt. and being people are not much literate & aware so easily become fool by the marriage bureaus in particular because of their publicity stunt.
    Because of some really good social match making websites like pointed by Ayesha above marriage bureaus business has been hit hard in big cities’ liberal & literate class but they’re very much still IN in our society. Some of my friend have found their match through website and recommend other as well being as per them it let families to meet each other, get know each other and make the final decision.
    I’m against marriage bureaus & aunties who do the match making kind a stuff being it is just another business in which both families concerns are not matter at all.
    I personally prefer the old traditional or straight forward approach in this very important aspect of any male/female life. Either boy/girl’s family look for the perfect match in their extended family or social circle or let them choose on their own being they’ve to spend their life so choice should be made by them.
    Though people raise concerns in marrying in the same family (cousin to cousin) but now medical has been so advanced that this issue can be solved. Plus I would like govt. to play its role in it as well by having some kind a rules of regulation for these kind of institutions to operate. Plus make it mandatory for couple to go through complete medical checkup before getting married and also take initiative by implementing rules of keeping peoples’ profiles (like western & middle-east countries) so that they can help families in investigating the character of bride/groom.
    I’ll blame the families as well by sometime choosing the easy way out in the most important matter of their children. Rather than looking themselves in their family or social circle they’ll appoint Rishta wali aunti or contact marriage bureaus. Recommend

  • Natasha

    Khaya piya hazam kia – that’s what these aunties and uncles running fraud marriage ‘dhanda’ seem to do.

    Good you’ve brought up the issue.I wonder what could be done to see if they are working properly or not.Recommend

  • Farhan

    That is true.. in the beginning they say they have lots of Rishtaas but later when the money is being paid they are like we are looking for suitable ones. To me yes Marriage bureaus are fraud. Recommend

  • Athar

    Marriage bureaus promise a lot, but do nothing. The same can be said for most subscription~based websites. It is a money~making racket and unless these so~called companies are regulated, more and more people will fall prey to their devious schemes.

    Very well written, Sadaf. Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    @Mateen, usman, wasif, natasha and farhan,,,Thanks….I simply believe that social circles are much better….and relying on nearby friends and their families… At least one knows them better,,, and also the reliability factor is high too…..You know what their likes and dislikes very well…..Recommend

  • ali

    the government should be doing a lot of things…but they dontRecommend

  • Asad Q

    Very well written article, you hit the nail right on the head. We are willing to chance or modernize in term of media and wearing sleeveless but still are living in the 50’s when it comes to the important issues like Risthas, Jaheez or helping other beings. Change always comes from within, if we correct our own selves the whole nation will be on the right path, otherwise we will be keep on going backwards and backwards.

  • fozia zafar

    i m jus speechless,cz my czn is d victim of mrs khwaja…awl i can say dat u r doing a great job grl…keep it up.Recommend

  • Narissa Khan

    Saddaf, u r exactly like the Anita character Parveen babi plays in Kaala Patthar: young, fiery, beautiful, dedicated crusading journalist!!!

    Keep up the good work, girl!!Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Thanks….I feel If I could report ag them, and all the fake agencies and companies operating in the area…..If laws dont; work, citizens can make and formulate their own laws against frauds…..I recently published a report against a fraud company that was fooling painters and was digesting their paintings, in an Urdu newspaper…..lets see how “Expose fake” mission works….Recommend

  • Ali Ibrahim

    Interesting issue raised there. Where the matchmakers charge hefty amounts, they are playing with the emotions of the clients as well. The point here is, its people like you and me that are still supporting these people. Imagine what would happen to them if the society on a whole (very huge assumption) decides to boycott them. Since that is not entirely possible, I believe even if a few people (lets say a neighborhood) decided to boycott such matchmakers it would in the end make a difference.

    As for the point where you highlighted about the govt. taking action against fraudulent matchmakers, do you honestly believe the govt. does not know of what is going on? The was I look at things they get a cut too.Recommend

  • Ghausia

    I didn’t know you were a fellow Bahrian! Hi!Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    @Ali Thanks a lot
    @Ghausia I knew that you were a Bahrian…..:)Recommend

  • Ghausia

    Really? How? I can’t recall having mentioned it, have we met? Either way its really cool to have a regular writer here be from the same uni as me! :)Recommend

  • Fatima Ajmal

    Well done, Sadaf! Similar problems exist in Karachi too. Fortunately, I haven’t come across any bad experience personally, but I’ve heard from friends etc. about these people who exploit naive and innocent families in the name of marriage. It’s a shame! First the society as a whole bullies the parents of unmarried girls and then thugs rip them off in style… what a winning combination! Recommend

  • Arifa

    Thanks sadaf, really it is very helpful for all the parents and families to be alert and not to trust such matchmakers. good keep it up.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    @Fatima and Arifa…..Thank you….Recommend

  • Syed Khalid Kamal

    I am a male in the unfortunate position of having to look for a partner rather late in life. I have only two short incidents to report on.
    a. Recently I was contacted by a marriege bureau for a rishta. In response I usually send a one page description of myself and what I am looking for. The marriage bureau operator responded that she doesn’t have time to read a long e-mail. She had sent me pictures of three very beautiful girls (later I found these pictures on the net) but all phone numbers supplied were fake. Conclusion; Most marriage are thinly disguised front for fraud.
    b. I also registered with the most famous of these institutioins in Karachi, she did not give us a single decent connection in over a year.
    In Pakistan people seem to put more care and effort in to hiring of maids and masis than rishtas. For example no will ever ask for a medical examination of the groom or the bride, or proper identification or educational credentials. This in a country where even the MNA’s and MPA’s are lying! Go figure. Recommend

  • Syed Khalid Kamal

    I would also like to comment about the work done or services provided by these professional match makers. They ask for thousands in fees for what amounts to zero effort. Example none of them collect detailed data about the prospective grooms or brides so it is instantly available for their own work or the families of the individuals involved. Only yesterday one woman told me that she charges Rs 20,000 more or less. And what does she do for it. Tell me about an available female some hundreds of miles away with hardly any factual information about it. Most people I know have to work for a month before that get this kind of money. I would much sooner trust in someone who does this for fun or swab and later reward them financially. Thanks. Recommend

  • sadaffayyaz

    @kamal, thank you for your comment and sharing your experience with these fake agencies. Ayesha mehmood has given a very good coverage on blood test before marriage. Do read her post as well.Recommend


    The situation in India is no different.Such agencies should be regulated by the government by asking them to register with appropriate
    agencies.NGOs can play an important role in creating public awareness. Recommend

  • Amber

    I know 3 people whose marriages were arranged by a rishta-uncle, not a bureau though, just a 2 person team. They didn’t ask for any registration. They only received payment once the marriage had actually taken place. Anybody who decides to use such services should pay after the service has been provided not before.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    @Gaur,,,,thats what we are trying to do…..
    @Amber….uncle forms a part of social network that is the most reliable for such issues…….These the ones I mentioned. ask for money first,,,since they have “Expenses” Kharcha boht ho jata hey……:PRecommend

  • m aamir mazhar

    there is a strong need of revival of our traditions where we socialize with clear minds and hearts…here a feeling come that relatives are no more trustable and there behaviour is not good in past but what happned to other people like our friends and neighbours why we dont socialize with them when we are on peak of our career we dont need any one then how is it possible you expect help from those people in hard time.
    marriges are basically not a marrige of single couple this something where two families gather and promise to share good and bad times.
    this DONT CARE attitude make havoc in our life’s we dont like people because of diffrent reasons our tollerance level is so much exchausted that a minor issue change into big problem.
    so in this condition what you expect that you hardly know a family for a month and going for a life time decision without any investigation.
    ALLAH have have us a mind to use it according to defined lines and after this effort leave to ALLAH but what we do is without any effort we put all things on ALLAH like Qismat Not Good
    at the end i just request parents have faith in ALLAH and dont take decisions fast properly investigate the family and becareful because now a days MONEY change every bad thing into most respectable thing in the eyes of society.Recommend

  • Samm

    Wow! In 41 comments barely anyone has commented on why in the world anyone would fork over Rs. 10,000 based on blind faith!!

    In a country full of so many problems, you want the Government to intervene because someone placed a marriage beaurea ad in the paper and you were foolish enough to hand them your money without seeing their track record or doing any research on them?? Seriously?!

    With all due respect, it shouldnt be a newsflash that there are dishonest people in this world, and just as you would research before buying a car, laptop or making any large purchase in life you should research the purchase of this service properly or you only have yourself to blame. Recommend

  • Anam Abdul Jabbar

    I also want to write blog here, can anyone please guide me, how can I do that?

  • Mrs.Ali

    Dear Readers

    May I draw your attention to few facts before we ask the government to do every bit of actions for us.Are we not sane!!! why do we loose our senses after becoming mother of daughters.I am a proud mother of two daughters.Factually,we try to be god in our quest to take the destiny in our hands.Have you ever thought, that you have forgotten to undertake te duties assigned to you as a mother. Have you raised your daughters, as per basic guidance given by Allah SWT.
    NO no no!!! I am not a mullani with a veil no.But where I need to take you is please,try to train your girls right from her nursery classes:difference in faishion & vulgarity, respect for elders (family members & teachers even servants),are you in kitty party leaving your kids with tution wali.If you are not worried about her future why a tution wali baji bother she wants to earn money for her needs. Have you taught your daughters,that Allah SWT, has directed to maintain decent distance with your real brother & father so how can you hang out hand in hand with your male freinds.Have you ever did these counselling sessions right from their primary classes if not….how can you expect a sensible teenager.Becoz if one fine morning you find your teenager arguing with you to go out n about anywhere they want as everyone else is doing so, partying/dancing late nite or cheating on you going out with boys without your permission (which is normal norm these days) how can you expect to handle them.Then you blame the environment.No mam, it is you to blame as you as a mother have not performed.

    Yes!! because if you had performed with all your sincerity Allah SWT help would always come your will posess a daughter who would be highly educated, well mannered with a personality who would be under the protection of Allah. Then you will not have to rely on Shadi Walli Auntie. Trust me contribute as a mother to the best possible do not follow the herd.Seek guidance from quran & sunnah.Believe me help will come from Almighty. Recommend