Finding a proper match these days has become too difficult. People are scared of cousin marriages and its problems, so have decided to move to matches outside their family and relatives. It’s something good from medical point of view, but trust is too meager. Mostly people rely on marriage ladies, who keep on advertising in different newspapers. Almost 98% of the marriage bureaus operating in the Pakistan are fake and fraud.
They approach their customers with their attractively worded and well phrased ads in different newspapers. They ask to fill out registration forms, take a large amount of money and never send any one. They don’t even bother to pick up your phone when you call them after paying money. Two such ladies in the capital have been operating in the capital for many years. One of them gets a form filled, charge about Rs. 10,000 or plus and never bother to send any one to their clients. While the second one registers and charges everyone a hefty amount, but only sends proposals to Kashmiri families, being a Kashmiri herself. She once sent a family to my friend’s house that was visiting almost every house in the town. To everyone they would say, “Our son is gone for a course and he is in Air force.” Some air force people, who knew them personally, said that the family is fraud and a friend of Mrs. Khawaja and she was sending them to almost every client of her.
A third marriage bureau charges a hefty amount and never bothers to call back.
One day, mother of an old friend of mine, suggested meeting such a lady, whom she considered was a specialist of finding matches. Upon calling her, the lady sounded very polite and nice-natured. She asked my mother to take me along with her and pay her a visit. She met us very nicely, took our numbers and got the money. After almost seven or eight months, my mother gave her a reminder call, “Bhabhi, have you done something? We came to your place about some months back.” “Aaah, I don’t remember you”, and she hung up the phone quite rudely. My mother felt bad and asked some other women who had contacted her. She contacted her again, she said, “I don’t even remember you and your daughter.” Mom left the topic and decided to visit her personally after a year.
Some people told us, “She is just a big fraud and fools both the parties, whether boys’ family or girls’ family. She has taken money from many poor parents too and never responded to call back. She is having a taste of her own medicine. Ask other people, never to trust her.” Another lady who only registers ‘beautiful girls’, but takes money from everyone. She charges Rs. 7,000 first and upon the marriage finalization, she charges additional Rs. 15, 000. She takes the money from even families of ordinary looking girls, but never bothers to call them back.
They hold that calling people and talking causes lot of expenses. The owner claimed that fees were non-refundable and it costs them a “lot” to find a match. Does it really cost Rs. 10,000 or plus to make some telephonic calls? We all know local call rates very well.
Another matchmaker states that she only charges money by looking at the financial status of her customers.
A friend of mine stated, “People are cheated in the name of social services and in getting a legitimate reference but these marriage bureaus only work to make money. Government should take a stern action against such marriage bureaus who are openly cheating people in order to earn money,” he said. Another friend of mine stated that her mother paid a lot of money to them, but till today, never got any response from them. These bureaus would always tell you that these matters “take time.”
The issue is that people are usually charged after providing some service; why do these bureaus charge money first? The lesson is that marriage bureaus are fraud and raise fake standards for people. Upon asking owners of bureaus, they replied that people and boys come to them asking for girls who look like Hollywood stars and models. These bureaus are being owned and run by sole owners, without any government registration or filing. Worried parents of aged girls are their biggest victims. They mostly attract worried parents with their daily newspaper ads and class ad sections on Sundays. The government must keep a check on them and shouldn’t allow everyone to open unregistered bureaus. The trend is increasing. Each one of them claims to have 15 years experience and just makes good money, without actually doing anything. From four bureaus in the past, the list has now expanded to five more bureaus in the Islamabad. It would be better if people start relying on close friends and their social networks for finding suitable matches for their children. A social network doesn’t cost much and the level of trust is higher as well. Even if a marriage bureau finds some match, the trust and reliability factor is compromised.