After endlessly swiping through pictureless profiles on dating apps, Muhammad Ali Shah still hasn’t found the one — or really anyone — to get serious with in Pakistan.
In the ultra-conservative Islamic republic, where arranged marriages are the norm, he says many women choose to stay anonymous, making online dating matches tricky.
“It’s slim pickings,” sighs the 36-year-old entrepreneur living in the capital Islamabad, saying friends have called him “desperate” and a “man whore” after going on dozens of dates over the past three years to little avail.
Unlike in many countries where meeting online is routine, Pakistanis who use dating apps regularly face harassment and judgmental relatives — and now also have to contend with a government clampdown.
Women users in particular fear possible retribution and often reveal little about themselves — using cartoons, avatars, or random pictures of nature instead of a profile photo.
“Girls aren’t comfortable… so