WASHINGTON - The Obama administration believes that there is no threat to Pakistans civilian government following the public opposition by the army to the so-called Kerry-Lugar bill that triples development aid to the country, a State Department spokesman said Wednesday. I dont think it is a threat to the civilian government in Pakistan, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley said at a briefing, when asked to comment on the concerns voiced by the Pakistan Army over some of conditions stipulated in the bill. Quite the opposite. I think that actually what you are seeing is a government in Pakistan that is becoming more confident. It is becoming more assertive. It is doing things that are important to, you know, the Pakistani people, Crowley added. US LAWMAKERS ANGRY REACTION Meanwhile, Garry Ackerman, an influential American lawmaker, has reacted angrily to the protests in Pakistan over conditions in bill tripling non-military aid to the country, saying Islamabad must make some hard choices about where their interests lie. The armys unusual public criticism of the matter appears to have opened a rift with President Asif Ali Zardaris government, which had earlier rejected opposition complaints that the US bill undermined sovereignty. LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP In his comments, Assistant Secretary of State Crowley also renewed the Obama Administrations commitment to develop a US long-term partnership with Pakistan. We are working very diligently, very closely with the Pakistani government. Thats why the Secretary (of State) and the (Pakistani) Foreign Minister met yesterday. Its why the Secretary and President Zardari met in New York, Crowley said. The US official praised the recently forged public backing for the Pakistani civilian and military actions to deal with the Taliban challenges in the northwestern areas and noted, that, in fact, the Pakistani government is becoming more assertive. Youve had a very significant change in recent months, in terms of the understanding that not only the government has but the Pakistani people have, in term of the nature of the threat that is a threat to Pakistan itself. In the recent activity, you know, by the military and by the government, dealing with the situation in Swat valley, youve seen significant support, you know, by the Pakistani people, you know, for that activity, Crowley added. As part of the US long-term commitment to Pakistan and to the region, Washington is going to provide assistance to the country. And we are working very diligently, very closely with the Pakistani government. Thats why the secretary (Hillary Clinton) and the foreign minister (Shah Mahmood Qureshi), you know, met yesterday. Its why the secretary (Hillary Clinton) and President Zardari met in New York. In this respect, Crowley cited a number of meetings focused on Pakistan, during the UN General Assembly, (like Friends of Democratic Pakistan) on not only, you know, making sure that there is proper international support for Pakistan, because we recognize that Pakistan is shouldering a significant burden. And Pakistans ability to deal with the challenge that exists, within its borders, and to help with you know, be part of a regional solution. So as you deal with the threat that expands across borders, that that not only has benefits to those countries, in the region, but has benefits beyond the region as well. The assistant secretary asserted that the US is working with Pakistan and will not try to impose American solutions on the Pakistani problems. We are committed to help. We are committed to work closely with Pakistan. Were not going to impose US solutions on Pakistani problems. We want to make sure that to the extent we are willing and able to provide assistance, it is working hand in glove with Pakistan and addressing those concerns that are very specifically, you know, concerns of the Pakistani people and reflect the priorities of the people of Pakistan. Continuing, he explained that energy is one of those areas. A team led by State Department Energy Coordinator David Goldwyn, will be going to Pakistan next week to discuss with Pakistan its energy requirements and how the US can work with Pakistan to extend electricity to more parts of the country. It doesnt you know, if youre facing a challenge of political extremism and terrorism, the first thing that doesnt cross your mind is electricity. And yet the ability of the Pakistan government to ultimately deliver, for its own people, is part of that, you know, part of the antidote to political extremism. As people become more confident in their government, that the government is working on their behalf and not against them, that is how you ultimately reduce and eventually erode the support for the kinds of movements that confront Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries. In his statement, Congressman Ackerman, who chairs the House of Representatives foreign affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, said, If the people of Pakistan really dont want our assistance ... if, after so much effort and sacrifice by our two countries working together, they still dont even believe that we wish them well and, worse, are prepared to say so only days after the United States Congress made an unprecedented commitment of long-term assistance, then I suppose we need to face the truth sooner than later. Ackerman, an avowed supporter of India, said Islamabad should be aware that US military aid is not reserved for them and that American interests in South Asia are not limited to just Pakistan. We dont sell F-16s and Harpoon missiles to just anyone. I had concerns about the wisdom of the Kerry-Lugar bill before it was passed. The recent debate in Pakistan has only increased my trepidation, the lawmaker said. Ackerman added, If Pakistan doesnt want us as a partner, thats up to them. But should they take such a decision, they should do so knowing full well that our military assistance, advanced technology and intelligence cooperation are not gifts, but the specific consequences of our cooperation. Pakistan is a sovereign state. I respect that and I want them to be our partner as an equal. But I have no interest in partnership which exists just in name, or is mostly characterised by suspicion, resentment and political manipulation. In the end, Pakistan , like ourselves, will have to make some hard choices about where their interests really lie.