Frail looking Nazeer Muhammad Najja might be 70 years old, but he is fast on his feet and has a keen eye for everything that is happening around him. The private investigator, a resident of a small town in Kasur district in Pakistan’s Punjab province, is locally known as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ as he has helped solve hundreds of cases.
Sarai Mughal town’s famous detective specialises in tracing footprints and says that he is 80 per cent accurate in determining who the culprit is.
According to local media reports, in his 20 years of working as a private investigator, Najja has solved countless mysteries and recovered hundreds of stolen cattle for his community.
The rural neighbourhood relies on Najja’s skills as the remote area has little access to technology and surveillance equipment.
“I learned everything on the field. Every time there would be any reports of theft of any kind in my area, I would show up at the crime scene and try to gather as much as I could. Eventually, I taught myself to trace footprints, which became my greatest asset in staying ahead of criminals,” Najja was quoted as saying by Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune.
Known for his expertise
After years of detective work, Najja has gotten famous across Kasur district and is often summoned to different villages to solve crimes and retrieve stolen items.
“Footprints are the most important of clues. They can tell a lot more about the criminal than the size of their shoes. Observing patterns like the length of the print, its width, its pressure, its direction and the distance from one foot to another, can help ascertain the criminal’s weight and gender,” Najja was quoted as saying.
However, sometimes criminals and other factors disrupt Najja’s investigation process, so being quick is key in his profession.
“Weather conditions like rains and dust storms can easily ruin footprints. Many criminals will also try to erase their marks, but often leave other clues in the process. So it’s important to reach the crime scene almost immediately to increase the chances of tracking down the criminal,” the elderly investigator explained.
Talking about the price of his services, he said he accepts whatever the people hire him choose to pay, a local newspaper reported.
“Although many a times, there’d be culprits who’d offer me huge bribes to mislead a plaintiff, but as a professional I do not accept such offers,” he said.
Speaking about a specific incident, Najja said that he was once offered Rs3,000 (Dh67) as a bribe to mislead a pack of sniffer hounds, which had been brought in to assist the case.
“They told me to take the hounds to any innocent man’s doorstep and let him take the fall, but I refused right way,” he added.