Islamabad: Making a bid to quell tensions between Pakistan and the US over the arrest of a suspected CIA contractor on murder charges, President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday said the two countries should not be swayed by "misperceptions and some isolated incidents".

Referring to long-term strategic ties between the two nations, Zardari made the remarks during his first meeting with new US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman without specifically referring to Raymond Davis, who was arrested in Lahore in January after he gunned down two men.

Zardari was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office that Pakistan and the US should "remain focused on the path of pursuing long-term, multifaceted and durable strategic ties for the realisation of shared objectives than be swayed by misperceptions and some isolated incidents that may be used by some to increase tensions and mistrust between the people of the two countries."

Discussing bilateral relations, Zardari said the weakening of ties is "not an option" for the two countries. “We have to find ways and means to find acceptable solutions to all problems," he said.

It could not immediately be ascertained whether Grossman reiterated the Obama administration’s demand for freeing Davis, whose arrest affected cooperation between the CIA and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Some reports said the two men gunned down by Davis were ISI operatives.

Pakistan's leadership, fearful of a public backlash due to rising anti-American sentiment, have told the US that Davis' case will be settled by the courts.

Zardari told Grossman that Pakistan had "paid heavily" in the war on terrorism by "losing thousands of men and suffering a colossal economic toll".

In an apparent reference to the public anger over Davis' case, Zardari said the "long-drawn" battle against extremism is a campaign "where military means alone cannot achieve complete victory as it was necessarily a battle of hearts and minds".

The world "cannot afford non-state actors to dictate their policies to governments" and militants want to change the existing order, Zardari said.

Pakistan’s weak economy had been stifled by the war on terror and last year’s unprecedented floods further worsened the situation and affected the government’s ability to provide opportunities to people, especially those worst hit by militancy, Zardari said.

Timely international aid, especially by Pakistan’s allies, would help the country overcome a "dire economic situation" and augment efforts to win the "battle of hearts and minds," he added.

Other matters that Zardari discussed with Grossman included reimbursement of Pakistan's expenses in the war on terror and the bilateral Strategic Dialogue.

Grossman, on his first visit to Pakistan since his appointment, also met Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and discussed global and regional issues, including recent developments in North Africa and the Middle East, and efforts to promote stability and peace in Afghanistan.

(Agencies)