The US today expressed its gratitude to the families of two Pakistani men gunned down by CIA contractor Raymond Davis for pardoning him and said the Department of Justice was investigating the shooting incident.
Hours after the families of the two victims pardoned Davis under a "blood money" deal allowed by Islamic laws, US Ambassador Cameron Munter said in a statement: “I am grateful for their generosity. I wish to express, once again, my regret for the incident and my sorrow at the suffering it caused.” Munter confirmed that the Department of Justice had opened an investigation into the incident in which Davis shot and killed the two men in Lahore on January 27.
The offer of such a probe was conveyed to Pakistan’s top leadership by US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry during a visit to Islamabad last month.
Referring to the release of Davis, Munter further said: "I wish to express my respect for Pakistan and its people, and my thanks for their commitment to building our relationship, to everyone's benefit." He reaffirmed the importance that US attaches to its relationship with Pakistan and the commitment of the American people to work with their Pakistani counterparts to “move ahead in ways that will benefit us all”.
Davis, a 36-year-old former Special Forces soldier, was arrested after he shot and killed two armed men he claimed were trying to rob him.
A third Pakistani man died when he was hit by a US consulate vehicle rushing to help Davis. Police rejected Davis’ claim of acting in self-defence and booked him for murder. He was freed by a court today after the US paid Rs 6 crore to each of the families of the three dead men.
The total ‘diyat’ or compensation amounted to USD 2.3 million. "Blood money" is paid to the next of kin of a murder victim as a fine. Pakistan-US relations plunged to a new low after Islamabad rejected repeated demands by Washington for Davis to be freed on grounds of diplomatic immunity. Pakistan’s leaders, fearful of a public backlash due to growing anti-American sentiment, insisted that the matter should be settled by the courts.