The passage of the Kerry-Lugar Bill through the US Congress has occasioned a storm in Pakistan. All that remains for it to pass into law is the presidential assent. In form, it merely represents the passage of an Act required by US law to allow the Executive Branch (the Obama and future administrations) to put money in future budgets for aid to Pakistan. Kerry and Lugar, the men after whom the Bill is named are senators, John Kerry and Richard Lugar, moved the Bill as a bipartisan measure, Kerry being a Democrat and Lugar a Republican. The reason it created a furore in Pakistan was because of the conditions attached to the aid, which are being widely seen as incompatible with Pakistani sovereignty. The present government has defended it as a great diplomatic triumph, so the opposition to it by the Opposition cannot be ruled out as being based more on partisan spirit than because the Bill is so bad. However, the Bill is supposed to satisfy another party, apart from the government - the Pakistan Army - because it includes a military aid component. However, while the Bill allows certain spares to be purchased, for equipment acquired back in the 1980s (in other words, for equipment now reaching or at least nearing the end of active-duty cycles), it makes no provisions for new purchases, and though this is implicit in the Bill, there will have to be separate congressional approval obtained for any military purchase that Pakistan wishes. The Pakistani opposition to the Bill is probably based on more than the government claims about how hard it worked for its passage. There is also an opposition to the present situation, which has lasted since the creation of Pakistan, where relations with other states were decided in the federal capital without reference to the people of Pakistan. While PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif sees Parliament as being the appropriate forum for discussing the Bill, because he sees Parliament as a representative of the people, many believe that the hoi polloi must not discuss the Bill. If the Pakistani people are ignorant of foreign affairs, even more so are the American people. However, it has been pointed out that, ignorant as Americans are, the money that will be poured into Pakistan will be theirs, and it ill befits Pakistani Parliament to question how they wish to spend their money. However, while the aid being given pales in comparison with the US spending on other countries, Pakistanis are supposed to have a voice in how money is spent by their own government in their own country. Being denied such a voice raises not just hackles, but suspicions. It seems clear to all Pakistanis that the 'aid is coming in lieu of support for the USAs War on Terror. And not just verbal support, but the commitment of troops to the various fronts they have been fighting on. Therefore, the criticism of the Bill that emanates from the Corps Commanders Conference assumes even greater significance. This causes the suspicion that the previous criticism, made by political parties, may have been orchestrated by the military, but that would be to ignore the reality that Kerry-Lugar is a very intrusive Bill. Many regard this simply as reflecting American mulishness, but it actually reflects deep American suspicions of the trends it has seen in Pakistani society. At the core of the conditionalities that have been imposed are the three certificates that have to be issued by the secretary of state to the 'appropriate congressional committees of Pakistan meeting certain conditions. The certifications are: (1) the Government of Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks; to earn this certificate may mean handing over Dr A Q Khan to the USA. The USA has kept on trying to have him handed over, so far to no avail. However, this certificate may be withheld until he is handed over, and the flow of dollars stopped. It is not necessary that the handing over will be demanded in the first year, but in subsequent years. (2) the Government of Pakistan during the preceding fiscal year has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and is making significant efforts towards combating terrorist groups, consistent with the purposes of assistance described in section 201, including taking into account the extent to which the Government of Pakistan has made progress on matters such as (A) ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that has conducted attacks against the United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighbouring countries; (B) preventing Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries, closing terrorist camps in the FATA, dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets; and (C) strengthening counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws; though the secretary of state will issue a single certificate, this one will have three components: 1) ceasing support to militant groups by elements within the military or any intelligence agency, particularly to any group that has carried out an attack on a neighbouring country; 2) preventing Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or any militant group (and examples of the Lashkar-i-Taiba and the Jaish-i-Muhammad are given by name) from operating in Pakistan, including from carrying out cross-border attacks; and 3) strengthening counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering legislation. At least the first two points are probably instigated by the Indian lobby, and show more concern with India than Pakistan. This should be a danger signal for the Pakistani government, that the USA sees India as its regional surrogate, and needs its services so much that it is willing to include its demands in an aid bill meant for Pakistan. The third certificate to be made is that 'the security forces of Pakistan are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan. This is the condition that should worry the military the most, but does not probably, because they look to waiver legislation, included in the current Bill, to get them off the hook should they carry out a coup. However, this gets the USA involved in the 'political or judicial processes of Pakistan. They are already there, having convinced both major parties, as well as several minor, that they are key to obtaining and keeping power, but this would give them a formal role until now lacking because of Pakistans sovereignty. E-mail: