WASHINGTON - With its adoption by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, the congressional process on the so-called Kerry-Lugar bill, whose conditionalities are causing huge controversy in Pakistan, is now complete on the measure authorizing $ 7.5 billion in development aid for the country. The same bill, which the House passed by a voice vote, was cleared by the Senate last week. It now awaits President Baracks Obama's signatures to become a law. The voice vote in the House marked Congressional approval of the long-awaited legislation named "The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009." Pakistani diplomats and officials welcomed the Congressional approval of the bill and saw the measure the compromise version as a vastly improved and less restrictive version. Pakistan's ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani said the bill signifies Washington's long-term commitment to his South Asian nation, the U.S. abandoned and sanctioned after Soviet pullout from neighboring Afghanistan in 1989. CRITICISM But critics interpret some provisions in the bill as impinging on Pakistan's sovereignty and micromanaging the country's policies. Some leading Pakistani experts point out that the conditions, particularly those pertaining to curbing extremists groups carrying out attacks against neighbouring countries (without naming India) effectively implicate Pakistan. Another contentions aspects are over the nuclear issue as wdedll as the utilization of the aid. Some critics say the U.S. officials preferring non-governmental organizations for development projects indicates a vote of no-confidence in the Pakistani government's ability to deliver transparently. However, the fact remains that Pakistani aid bills even in the past have never been without strings -- even in the 80's when the Reagan administration gave Pakistan $ 3.2. billion over a period of five years when US helped Mujahideen fight soviet invaders with Pakistan's backing. But this time, a vast swathe of the Pakistani territory in the northwestern regions, close to the Afghan border have become a conflict zone and the U.S. drone attacks are also inflaming anti-American setiments. A clear purpose of the bill, which enjoys strong White House backing, is to improve American image among the Pakistanis. Meanwhile, the measure triples U.S. democratic, economic, and social development assistance to Pakistan with a particular focus on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting economic development, and improving Pakistan's public education system. The measure also acknowledges Pakistan's pivotal anti-terror efforts on the Afghan border. The legislation was introduced in the House on September 24, when the Senate passed the measure and President Obama co-chaired Friends of Democratic Pakistan summit with President Asif Ali Zardari in New York, to decalre commitment to the security and development of Pakistan, considered key to success against militants in neighbouring Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgency has been expanding. According to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the measure also authorizes military assistance to help Pakistan disrupt and defeat al Qaeda and relevant insurgent elements, and requires that such assistance be focused principally on helping Pakistan with its critical counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts. Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the compromise legislation. Pakistan has lost more than $ 35 billion in economic activity to the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in its northwestern areas since September 11, 2001 and more Pakistani soldiers and security personnel have laid down their lives than the combined losses the United States and its allied operating in Afghanistan have suffered. To support Pakistans paramount national security needs to fight the ongoing counterinsurgency and improve its border security and control etc., the bill authorizes funds for the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education Training (IMET) for 5 years. It authorizes the Secretary of State to establish an exchange programme between military and civilian personnel of Pakistan and NATO member countries. However, the Secretary of State must certify that Pakistan continues to cooperate with the United States to dismantle supplier network relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons related material, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks. The Secretary has also to certify that Pakistan is making significant efforts to prevent al-Qaeda and associated terrorist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad from using its territory to launch attacks against United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan or cross border attacks into neighbouring countries. The Secretary is also required to certify that the security forces of Pakistan are not materially or substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan. However, the Pakistani officials point out that all these conditions are in line with Pakistan's declared national policy on these issues as Islamabad is against nuclear proliferation, is committed not to allow its territory to be used for terrorism and wants to progress on path to democracy. A salient feature of the bill is the waiver provided in the legislation. Significantly, the bill allows a waiver against these restrictions if the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, determines that doing so is important for the US national security interests. Neither the PCCF nor the CSF come under the purview of Kerry-Lugar Bill and are, therefore, not subject to conditions imposed on the security assistance. Besides, none of the above mentioned conditions can set in motion automatic sanctions. Some Congressmen including Republican Dana Rohrabacher expressed their reservations on extending massive economic and security assistance to Pakistan while others including Democratic Gary Ackerman called for proper usage of the assistance. Republican Representative from Texas Ron Paul, sustained aid for Pakistan is not in the U.S. interests as American itself is facing economic problems. At the same time, also opposed U.S. bombing in tribal areas, saying it is antagonizing the Pakistanis against the United States. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, co-chair of the Pakistani Congressional Caucus, paid tribute to the resilience of the Pakistani people, saying they want democracy and that Washington must support them. She also commended the Pakistani military's anti-terror efforts and noted they have lost hundreds of security personnel in the struggle against militants. Chris Van Hollen, the Karachi-born Democratic from Maryland, the U.S. should learn from its past mistakes and underscored that maintaining close ties with Pakistan is extremely important to American security interests. He regretted that the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones initiative, he sponsored, could not find a place in the compromise version.