`Little` tragedies

SOMETIMES, it is the small stories those that, at first glance, seem almost inconsequential in the larger scheme of things that end up completely unsettling one`s conscience. There was one such story in this paper yesterday about a Rawalpindi father who returned home from work on Saturday evening looking forward to being greeted by his three children two girls and a boy, aged from seven to two but who found their lifeless bodies in a trunk instead. It appears that the little ones had climbed inside during one of their games and inadvertently locked themselves in. The mother was at work when this ghastly accident happened. One shudders to contemplate what suffering the little souls must have endured as they waited for help.

Can one blame the parents for this tragedy? It hardly seems fair. It has become impossible for the vast majority of households in this country to survive on a single wage. The father was a bike rider most bike riders struggle even for minimum wage.

It is not difficult to imagine why the children`s mother decided to chip in. Not everyone has access to a family support network to ask for help babysitting their children. Our politicians and policymakers love to talk about increasing women`s participation in the workforce, but what about creating the conditions that will enable them to do so without putting their children`s lives and well-being at stake? With more women entering the workforce due to economic compulsions, it is incumbent upon policymakers and civil society to recognise the risks they are undertaking and suggest solutions to alleviate them. For example, large organisations may be incentivised with tax benefits for providing monitored childcare services, while government schools can offer extended hours to keep children under their supervision for longer. It should be unacceptable for us as a nation that working parents have to entrust their children to fate because there are few other choices available.

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