In the 1950s, there were very few doctors in Karachi. My sister (six years younger than me) had not yet learned to walk when she was struck by a mysterious illness. I and my mother had to take her for forty days to a doctor whose clinic was four kilometers away from our house in Jodia Bazaar (an old Karachi locality). There were no other doctors nearby except that one in Burns Road (who treated my sister successfully).

When my mother developed diabetes in the 1960s, there were only two or three pathological laboratories in the city. The most frequented one was in Saddar (Saleem Laboratories) where a long queue of people was already present when I and  my mother would go there at seven in the morning. Today, there must be at least fifty such labs in Karachi. 

I was in Lahore with my parents in 1991 when my mother ran out of her diabetic pills. I went to the wholesale medicine market, but couldn't find any shop that sold Daonil. In fact, no one there knew of anyone who sold medication for diabetes. Returning to our hotel, I saw a pharmacist about to draw down the shutters of his shop (it was nine at night). I ran towards him and asked him if he had the medication. It turned out that his was the only shop in Lahore which stocked it. He did charge a good price for it too.

Those who live in Karachi are luckier, The number of doctors has increased phenomenally and I believe we have the best heart and kidney specialists in the world. In fact, I once came across a Saudi woman who was receiving treatment from the kidney specialist who was treating my mother as well. This was more than fifteen years ago.

Take my own case. Nine years ago, when I developed heart trouble, the doctor who inserted two stents in my body was a lady (she is still one of the most well-known heart specialists in the country). I'm again in need of heart treatment, I found there are many hospitals devoted exclusively for treatment of heart and kidney diseases.

I don't think any other city in the country has so many specialists and hospitals as Karachi has. At least in this respect, Karachi has progressed more than the rest of the country.