WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Wednesday to triple nonmilitary aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year for each of the next five years in a bid to help the country defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants. But the legislations final fate has yet to be decided.Unlike the House of Representatives version of the bill, which was voted against by the Republican members, the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act received bipartisan support from senators and is supported by the Obama administration. The measure now goes for negotiations in the House in an effort to reconcile the two versions. It passed the Senate by voice vote without debate. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, a Democrat, said the bill was vital both to Pakistans 175 million people and to US national security. Pakistan is facing a critical moment, and today the Senate has made a clear, bipartisan commitment to replace an atmosphere of mutual distrust and lack of accountability with a broad-based, durable commitment to Pakistan and its people, said Kerry, who sponsored the bill along with the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen Dick Lugar. This legislation marks an important step toward sustained economic and political cooperation with Pakistan, Lugar said. At its heart is an effort to bolster good government in Pakistan and the USs image in the country by both increasing civilian aid and clearly distinguishing it from the military aid that became a defining characteristic of the Bush administrations relationship with Islamabad. The Senate bill does not link military and nonmilitary aid, focusing on fostering democratic governance and economic development. However it differs in a number of respects with legislation already passed by the House of Representatives, which would impose conditions on civilian assistance, authorise further military aid and spell out a detailed set of objectives some Senate aides say would micromanage the use of the funds. The secretary of state also must provide Congress with a strategy report with progress benchmarks and submit semiannual reports on the impact of US assistance. The Obama administration has chafed at conditioning aid - the House bill also links military aid to the determination that Pakistan is cooperating in dismantling nuclear weapons supply networks - but has pushed for a more strategic, long-term relationship with the South Asian nation. President Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of the Kerry-Lugar bill when he was in the Senate and last March urged Congress to pass it. I think that it is fair to say that our policy toward Pakistan over the last 30 years has been incoherent. I dont know any other word to use, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a news conference last month. The House bill, in addition to approving $1.5 billion a year in nonmilitary aid, authorises $400 million in 2010 for security assistance and $300 million in 2010 for a State Department Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund. Current military assistance is about $300 million a year. Its chief sponsor is Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, a Democrat. The House measure also incorporates a separate bill, sponsored by Chris Van Hollen, a Karachi-born congressman that sets up economic zones from which Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan along the Afghan border can sell goods to the United States duty-free. AFP adds: The House of Representatives passed the version of the aid bill in mid-June, and the two chambers must now work out and approve a compromise bill before President Barack Obama can sign the measure into law. The measure separates civilian aid aimed at boosting education, democratic governance, and sustainable economic growth for Pakistans 170 million people from military assistance, which would be approved on a year-to-year basis. It ties military aid to certification that Pakistan security forces are doing their utmost against Al-Qaeda and similar groups, and requires Pakistan to stop the Taliban from using Pakistans territory as a base. But it does not materially interfere in the countrys political or judicial processes. It also calls for benchmarks for measuring the effectiveness of US assistance at a time when many in the US Congress are openly sceptical of the effectiveness and desirability of boosting aid to Islamabad. It would also require Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in cooperation with Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, to craft annual reports on Pakistani security forces. Clinton would also be directed to work up a comprehensive strategy with Gates and Blair for coping with violence along Pakistans border with Afghanistan.