KARACHI - Local citizens on Friday expressed their concerns over the growing trend of forming jirgas in the metropolis, on the pretext to maintain peace, with the tacit support of different political parties. The formation of the MQM Haq Parast Amn Jirga to tackle the sensitive issue of the 12th May has provided the citizens a chance to take a glimpse into complex politics of the metropolis. The MQM, which is considered as an urban-based political party, is also following this traditional but controversial system. They are of the opinion that such Jirgas have never solved any problems in the past and will certainly fail to achieve anything positive in future. Karachi, having more than 17 million multilingual population, is considered a city of the country with highest literacy rate, is rapidly sinking into the decades-old tribal traditions under the patronage of mainstream political parties. Awami National Party and Pukhtoon Khawa Milli Awami Party, both representing the Pukhtoon population, have jointly formed the Loya Jirga (Grand Jirga) in Karachi with the support of several Pukhtoon groups and tribes with an objective to protect the interests of this ethnic community in the metropolis. Last year, former MPA Hameedullah Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami led a Jirga, under the name of Karachi Amn Jirga, with the backing of his own party to maintain peace in the metropolis. However, latest development surfaced when the MQM Rabita Committee announced to endorse the strike call given by the Haq Parast Amn Jirga. The formation of these three jirgas, under the patronage of major political and religious parties of the metropolis, seemed to propel the city towards centuries-old tribal system. According to the citizens, it is a useless initiative in the presence of assemblies and courts. Noted social scientists have expressed their serious concern over the promotion of tribal jirga system in the largest urban centre of the country and termed it illegal and unconstitutional. Co-Chairman Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Iqbal Haider termed these jirgas illegal and unconstitutional saying that even in tribal areas these bodies could not give their verdict on all issues. The establishment of such jirgas in the 21st century can push the country towards the stone age. We are being degenerated religiously and are becoming barbarians, he said. Iqbal Haider further said that no government or the society in this modern and civilised world could approve the practice of jirgas. Dr Jaffar Ahmed, Director Pakistan Studies Centre, Karachi University, said that major population centres of the country, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and others, were yet to develop as urban cities. Urban centres, in the world, have their own values such as cultural activities, social programmes, cinemas and others. But in Pakistan, these centres are still to achieve the goal of enlightenment as various cinemas in the metropolis are being converted into shopping malls, he added. Jaffar further said that political parties were reaping the benefits of social system prevalent in the country. It may be noted here that Pashtun Aman Jirga (PAJ) was established in the metropolis in February 1998 against the marriage of a Pushto-speaking girl, Riffat Afridi, with an Urdu-speaking man Kanwar Ahsan. The PAJ gave this issue an ethnic colour when its leaders called for a strike in the city. They asked the local transporters, mostly Pushtoons, to participate in the strike. As a result, several bloody incidents took place killing at least two people besides damaging public and private properties worth millions of rupees. A good number of human rights activists and the common citizens have urged the elected representatives, MNAs and MPAs, to make all out efforts to prevent the formation of such jirgas and adopt constitutional ways to restore and maintain peace in the metropolis.