Freedom Network [FN] has welcomed the decision of Reporters Without Borders to temporarily rename the street on which Pakistan Embassy is located after slain Pakistani journalist Salim Shehzad, whose killers are still at large.
“This symbolic gesture reflects Reporters Without Borders’ persistent advocacy for rights of journalists and it will go a long way to keep the flame of fighting impunity in Pakistan,” FN, Pakistan’s first media watchdog organization said on 2 November 2015 – the UNESCO-instituted International Day To End Impunity Against Journalists.
“The Pakistan government did well to establish a judicial commission to investigate the brutal murder of Salim Shahzad but despite the conclusion of the investigation, there has been no forward movement on implementing its recommendations,” FN said.
It added that the designation of the street on which the Pakistan Embassy is located in Paris as Rue de Salim Shahzad should be seen as a symbol of the fight against impunity, a fight that the Pakistan government has itself endorsed.
A total of 115 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since January 2000, including at least 82 who were shot dead in target killings. In only two cases – those of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar and Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl – were the killers identified and trailed with successful convictions. Killers of none of the rest, including Salim Shahzad, have been identified or punished.
FN urged the Pakistan government to fulfil its commitments made through its endorsement of the UN Plan of Action against Impunity and Issues of Impunity which can help improve Pakistan’s current dismal rankings on freedom of expression and media freedoms.