By Dr. Sohail Ansari
Karachi is built around a bay which is a natural harbour and protected from storms by a group of small islands: Baba, Shamspir, Manora and Kiamari (which is no more an island). There are nine islands in close proximity and coastal boundaries of Karachi. Baba Island, one of those, is a small sandy islet opposite Kiamari. The settlement is over 400 years old and is said to be the oldest inhabited island around. This is not known as to how it acquired the name. It is populated by 15000 souls now, compared to 1393 people in 1941. The old residents were called Morriro Pota; they were mainly fishermen. The community is mostly dominated by Sindhi speaking Kutchi people. The British established coal stores on the island. Its narrow winding streets with closely weaved houses have long been free of wheels and traffic congestion. Northwestward, it has a track of mangrove swamps intercepted by numerous creeks. The island was badly hit by the cyclone of 1902. It once used to be popular with the picnickers.