WASHINGTON - A top US Congressional panel has made a substantial portion of US funding to Pakistan conditional on Secretary of Defence's certification that the country was "taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network in Pakistani territory."

The Congressional Conference Committee, which is made of senior members from the House of Representatives and the Senate, passed the the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 on Wednesday authorising up to US $900 million in coalition support funds for Pakistan.

Of this amount, US $ 400 million has been made contingent upon a Pentagon certification. 

In a move that raised concerns, the Committee has asked the Pentagon to ensure that Pakistan does not use its military aid in persecution of minority groups in the country.

"The Committee remains concerned about the persecution of groups seeking political or religious freedom in Pakistan, including the Balochi, Sindhi, and Hazara ethnic groups, as well as religious groups, including Christian, Hindu, and Ahmadiyya," the Committee said in a 3000-page document.

"Consequently, the conferees believe that the Secretary of Defence should continue to closely monitor the provision of US security assistance to Pakistan and ensure that Pakistan is not using its military or any assistance provided by the United States to persecute minority groups."

Defence Secretary Ashton Carter refused to grant a similar certification to Pakistan this year as a result of which it was not given a $300 million under coalition support fund.

NDAA-2017 "refocuses security assistance to Pakistan on activities that directly support US national security interests and conditions a significant portion of funding on a certification from the Secretary of Defence that Pakistan is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network in Pakistani territory," Republican Senator John McCain said.

The NDAA allows for reimbursement of Pakistan for security activities along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, including providing training and equipment for the Pakistan Frontier Corps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

However, members of the Conference Committee expressed concern that Pakistan continues to delay or deny visas for US personnel that could assist with the provision of such training.

Given this situation, the report recommended the Pentagon to condition reimbursements for training and equipment with appropriate access by US personnel.

It now needs to be formally passed by the two chambers of the Congress - the House of Representatives and the Senate - before President Barack Obama can sign it into law.