The US Senate has passed the Kerry-Lugar aid bill, with the passage timed to coincide with the Friends of Democratic Pakistan summit in New York, and intended to beef up President Barack Obama's position with reference to the pledges made at the summit. The Bill, which passed the Senate on Thursday, the day of the Summit, will triple US aid to $1.5 billion a year for the next five years, for which it provides a commitment. While there is little doubt that the Gilani government will celebrate its passage, and President Asif Zardari will take much credit, the nation as a whole should ask what the USA is buying with this aid, for it does not give away money. One indication would come from what it has spent on so far. The US money which has come to Pakistan so far has been for its participation in the US War on Terror, and it has brought in its wake not just unprecedented violence and suicide bombings, but also soaring prices, and shortages of basic items like food staples. This is all happening in a worsening economy, with jobs being lost rather than created. Therefore, the War, which the Americans expect to last at least for the duration of the aid package, will bring for Pakistan only more blasts, more shortages, more jobs being lost in a worsening economy. Before becoming too passionate about the success of the government in getting this aid bill, Pakistanis should consider whether the price being extracted, that of continued front-line participation in the War on Terror, is worth it. An aspect of the bill that needs careful consideration are the conditionalities that might be tacked on to it, if not now, then in the future, as it moves further doen the passage corridor, and as can be done by any member of Congress who can muster enough votes to have it passed. As has been seen during the passage of the current bill, the Indian lobby is active to have conditions tacked on, which do not advance American interests, but Indian, and at the expense of Pakistan. This particular aid bill has also seen attempts to increase American control using the mantra of 'accountability', and the passage of the bill, which still has to go through the House of Representatives, and then receive President Obama's signature, will by no means end this. The passage of this aid bill was an inevitability, given Pakistan's importance to the War. However, that does not mean Pakistanis need welcome it, especially if all it leads to are more extravagance by government, and a return to the free spending ways of the past. This aid bill will be judged by whether it achieves the economic growth denied Pakistan by restricting market access, and how much independence it leaves to Pakistan, which will probably not be more than at present, which is not very much.