Backed by Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., the legislation already enjoys the support of the powerful Indian lobby on the Hill. India, Pakistan's neighbor and chief rival, has objected to the U.S. offer, saying it would hurt recent moves to improve relations between New Dehli and Islamabad, which have fought three wars in the last 56 years.
"And I would urge our colleagues to take a look and see if they'd be willing to co-sponsor that bill," said Ackerman in a recent appeal to other lawmakers.
Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the U.S. intention to include Pakistan in this elite club when he visited the country two weeks ago during an extended tour of the South Asian and Middle Eastern regions.
Ackerman said he understood the U.S. need for Pakistan's assistance in the war against terror but Washington should not ignore that Pakistani scientists had recently confessed selling nuclear secrets and materials to Iran, Libya and North Korea.