Davis' release an imp step in maintaining US-Pak ties: Kerry

Davis` release an imp step in maintaining US-Pak ties: Kerry Washington: The release of US diplomat Raymond Davis, who was arrested in Pakistan on murder charges, is an important step in maintaining America's relationship with Pakistan, a top US Senator said Wednesday.

"This was a very important and necessary step for both of our countries to be able to maintain our relationship and remain focused on progress on bedrock national interests, and I'm deeply grateful for the Pakistani government's decision," Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said.

Now, both the countries can focus on the war against terrorism, Kerry said.

Kerry, who visited Pakistan last month, said the United States deeply regrets the loss of life that led to this difficulty in US-Pak relationship and the demonstrations on Pakistan's streets.

"But neither country could afford for this tragedy to derail our vital relationship. We look forward to working with Pakistan to strengthen our relationship and confront our common challenges," Kerry said.

Davis was set free after family members of the Pakistanis killed by Davis told a Pakistani court that they were dropping charges in exchange for financial compensation, often referred to as "blood money" in Pakistan.

His release ended one of the most serious diplomatic stand-offs between Islamabad and Washington in nine years of partnering in the fight against terrorism.

"It is likely that the deal to release Davis in exchange for compensation to the victims' families was reached behind closed doors by Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the CIA," said Lisa Curtis, a noted American scholar on South Asian affairs.

However, she warned that this might help to cool tempers between the ISI and CIA in the immediate term, so long as Pakistan resists taking serious action against terrorist groups like the LeT, tensions in the relationship will persist.

Welcoming the release of Davis, Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said, as a US diplomat, he is protected by the Vienna Convention and should never have been arrested or detained.

"If Pakistan wants to be taken seriously as a state based on the rule of law, it must respect its international obligations. Pakistan and the US cooperate on many levels because it is in our mutual interest.

"Irresponsible behaviour like this jeopardises everything our two nations have built together," Rogers added.