The $7.5 billion the US government has pledged to spend on civilian assistance in Pakistan over the next five years is slowly making its way to the troubled country, after months of debate over how the money should be spent and how to ensure that it is properly used. About 20 Pakistani organizations and government agencies have been screened as potential recipients, US envoys said yesterday at a hearing called by US Representative John F. Tierney, a Salem Democrat who chairs the House subcommittee on national security and foreign affairs. About 50 more organizations are expected to be declared eligible, according to The Boston Globe. Organizations that have been reviewed include the Higher Education Council, the government of North-West Frontier Province, the Benazir Bhutto Support Fund, and the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Secretariat, according to Dan Feldman, deputy special representative for Pakistan. Tierney and others expressed concern that the checks on corruption and mismanagement might not be sufficient. "We must make certain the administration's new strategy will not send more money through weaker systems - systems that lack the internal controls developed with time and experience,'' Tierney said, although he made it clear that he supports the aid. Tierney has previously contended that millions in US aid to the Pakistani military could not be accounted for. Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, said, "If there is not a mechanism that is solid, we are going to have Iraq all over again.'' But attempts to mandate accountability for the funds have drawn a strong reaction from Pakistanis. Language in the bill caused a firestorm in the fall when some institutions, particularly the military, contended some provisions eroded Pakistan's sovereignty. The aid package - known in Pakistan as the Kerry-Lugar funds after Senators John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, who sponsored the bill - will make Pakistan among the top recipients of US economic aid. The $1.5 billion Pakistan is authorized to receive annually in non-military aid is about half of what Afghanistan is slated to get this year, but more than the estimated $1 billion the State Department expects to spend on aid to Iraq. But spending the money effectively is a challenge, especially in the FATA, where Pakistan's government has made few inroads. In 2007, the Bush administration said it would spend $750 million in those lands, but only $220 million has been spent, James Bever, director of the USAID Afghanistan Pakistan Task Force, said.