WASHINGTON - Two Democratic US lawmakers are seeking to put on hold a move by the Bush administration to shift $226.5 million from US counter-terrorism aid to Pakistan to upgrade Pakistani F-16 fighters. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman of California and Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York, said Tuesday they feared the plan could hinder counter-terrorism efforts and wanted more time to study it. "We have requested a hold on the administration's planned reprogramming pending additional information," they said in a joint statement. When the plan was disclosed last week, some members of Congress questioned how the upgraded F-16s, widely seen as aimed at countering any threat from India, would be used against Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Congressional staffers indicated that the Bush administration could still transfer the money if it wished but typically sought to respect such requests from lawmakers. An unnamed US official, according to a media report, said that the administration was weighing how to respond but noted that there was deadline on Thursday to make a payment to Lockheed Martin Corp, the military contractor that would upgrade the planes. In a statement, Berman and Lowey said legislation passed by Congress last year "specifically required that military aid to Pakistan be used for counter-terrorism and law enforcement activities directed against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban." "We are concerned that the administration's proposal to use military assistance to pay for the F-16 upgrades will divert funds from more effective counter-terrorism tools like helicopters, TOW missiles, and night-vision goggles," they added. Berman and Lowey, who chairs the influential House panel that oversees swathes of the US foreign aid budget, announced their concerns a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met President George W Bush in Washington. Gilani sought to reassure Bush of his government's commitment to securing its border with Afghanistan, where Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants pose a growing threat to both countries. Berman and Lowey said they wanted to help Gilani's newly-elected government cope with a budget crisis brought on by rising fuel and food prices and proposed that Congress provide $200 million in economic aid to help address this. Separately, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill that would authorise tripling non-military aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over five years for development, including building schools, roads and health clinics. The bill's sponsors include Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama of Illinois as well as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden of Delaware and its senior Republican member Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. In a speech organised by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Middle East Institute, Gilani said the bill was a signal 'that not only is Pakistan back in business but the United States is standing with it in a long-term, mature partnership'. The bill has no immediate effect. It would have to be passed by the full Senate and House and would typically also require separate legislation to appropriate the funds.