LAHORE - British High Commissioner in Pakistan, Adam Thomson on Friday said that after devolution of federal departments as a result of the 18th amendment, the provinces have become more important partners for the United Kingdom to enhance cooperation in various fields. The UK government will have more engagement with decision makers in Punjab in future and is also considering doubling its assistance for the province, he said while talking to a select-group of reporters at a local hotel here. Mr Thomson said his government was closely working with the Punjab government for the effective execution of various projects in the fields of education and health. The main focus of our cooperation, however, remains education where 46 per cent of our total assistance is being utilised, he said. We want more children going to schools in Punjab, the most populous province in Pakistan. The envoy said the UK had also started some programmes in South Punjab to provide technical education to the youth so that they could get employment in the local industry. He clarified that the UKs assistance to Pakistan was not meant to enhance its political influence in the country, as his country was the second largest investor in Pakistan. He said no parallels could be drawn between the US assistance to Pakistan and that of the UK. Asked if they had evolved some mechanism to ensure transparency in utilisation of aid in Punjab, he said the UK government had to explain to the Parliament and its taxpayers why the government that had applied cuts on social sectors at home was providing assistance to Pakistan. He said an accountability mechanism for the purpose had been put in place. We suspended some of our programmes here because we had concerns about their transparency, he added. Asked to comment on the Punjab Chief Ministers statement regarding rejection of foreign aid by his government, the UK High Commissioner said that democracy is flourishing in Pakistan, and most probably he (Punjab CM) had his constituency (voters) at the back of his mind when he made the statement. To a question, Mr Thomson recognised Pakistans sacrifices in the war on terror, saying no other country in the world has suffered as much loss in terms of men and material as Pakistan had in the last one decade. He described Pakistan as the biggest victim of terrorism. Mr Thomson said his country wanted a safer Pakistan. What is good for Pakistan is good for the UK, he said, adding, We have huge stakes in Pakistan and we need to engage more closely with it. He said the British government was desirous of assisting Pakistan in terms of trade and investment. To a question about his governments strict visa policy for the Pakistanis, he said this might have been the situation until 2009, but now we have relaxed our visa regime. Now a business visa is issued in three to five days, while a tourism visa takes 15 working days. He said the UK wanted to enhance people-to-people contact for better understanding between the two countries. He, however, said that the UK government was trying to reduce the number of people who want to settle there. Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner called on TheNation and Nawa-i-Waqt Editor-in-Chief Majid Nizami and Managing Director Rameeza Majid Nizami on Friday and discussed the issues of common interest. Later, while talking to the Waqt News TV, he said that the UK would not leave Pakistan alone as it had rendered tremendous sacrifices in the war on terror. The enemies of the United Kingdom and Pakistan are the same, he said while quoting the statement given by Britain PM David Cameron. Mr Thomson said that this is the time to extend financial as well as moral support to Pakistan to help its weak economy to flourish. The British government would continue its assistance in the field of education along with all other sectors to enhance the literacy rate in Pakistan, he said.