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Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 15:01 UK

US Congress clears Pakistan aid

Moneychanger in Pakistan
The US aid to Pakistan is subject to conditions

The US Congress has cleared the Kerry-Lugar bill which triples non-military aid to Pakistan through an annual outlay of $1.5bn for five years.

Under the bill, the secretary of state will have to certify periodically that Pakistan is working to dismantle the illegal nuclear proliferation networks.

The US also has to certify that Pakistan is no longer supporting militant groups.

The aid money will be spent on various development projects.

The bill was okayed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday night. It was approved by Senate last week and must still be signed by President Barack Obama.

'Co-operate'

According to Pakistani media reports, several conditions have been imposed on Pakistan to ensure the aid goes where it is intended.

The secretary of state has to certify that Pakistan is continuing to co-operate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials.

Islamabad also has to provide information from or access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks.

Pakistan also has to prove that it has strengthened counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws; and that its security establishment is not subverting the political or judicial processes.

The aid money will not be directly handed over to Pakistan.

It will be spent on different development projects through the US embassy in Islamabad.

According to reports, a special unit is being established in the embassy, which will maintain accounts of the aid spent and strictly monitor it.

Recently, the US said it had provided more than $3bn in aid to Pakistan since President Zardari came to power a year ago.

The money was given in "combined security, economic and development assistance", US officials said.

In May this year, the US announced it was sending $110m (£71m) in aid to Pakistan to help it cope with the refugee crisis caused by violence between troops and the Taliban in the north-west.



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