Marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – an international rights organisation – renamed 12 streets in Paris after journalists who have been murdered, tortured or have disappeared inexplicably.

One of the streets has been named after veteran Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, who was kidnapped on 30 May 2011, and was found a day later – tortured, beaten, his body dumped into a canal. The gesture by Reporters Without Borders and the city of Paris is a positive one, which will keep reminding denizens of the French capital, and visitors, the plight of journalists worldwide. The move may go some way towards forcing RSF’s demand for the appointment of a special representative to the UN secretary-general on the safety of journalists, but the gesture serves more to remind Pakistan how little appreciation there is for their own journalists in the country.

A Pakistani journalist is being honored in Europe, while his sacrifice is all but forgotten in his homeland. Even more disturbing is the fact that the protests generated by his death seem to have lost all steam without achieving anything substantive. It is an open secret that Shahzad’s murder was carried out at the behest of the clandestine establishment – a fact his testimony before his death, his ‘insensitive ‘work, and statements by US administration all strongly corroborate. However, no one was held accountable, and the official Judicial Commission gave an evasive answer without naming anybody.

In the four years since Shahzad’s death journalists continue to ‘disappear’, usually in sensitive areas in Balochistan or KP. The blanket ban of independent journalism in military controlled areas is still as heavy, and charges of treason and ‘anti-state activity’ continue to fly around without much ado. RSF’s efforts may bring some change, but it is bound to be negligible, especially on a hardened country like Pakistan. Even if safety of journalists is made a prime issue in the UN, pressure on Pakistan is going to slide right off. Only internal accountability can change this trend.