ONE had barely discovered the President was back in the country when we learnt he was already readying for his next trip abroad this time to Russia for the quadrilateral meeting between Afghanistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Pakistan, not a bilateral interaction only. Of course, there would be bilateral meetings also between the Russian and Pakistani sides, but there is nothing critical that could not have been postponed so that the President could have shown his presence and support for his own flood-stricken people. The anticipated anti-drug trafficking agreement does not strictly require the presence of the President. As for the argument from the Presidential camp that his travels abroad draw attention to the plight of his people as a result of the floods and terrorism, that too is not valid since the whole world is aware of the flood devastation and the UN is already launching an appeal. With regard to the Pakistani victims of terrorism, despite several foreign visits the President has failed to put forward the Pakistani peoples contribution and suffering in the erroneous US-led war on terror. Instead, the US and its allies continue to berate Pakistan the most recent tirade coming from UK Prime Minister Cameron. The unfortunate part of the Presidential visits is the bad press he attracts, as was reflected most vividly in the UK recently. The point is that the President of the country should be in Pakistan at this time of need. He also needs to rein in his party members who continue to bicker over personal priorities as more areas are threatened by the flood. The recent issue of breaching the side canal of Sukkur barrage is one such instance. At a general level, it is the military that alone seems to be everywhere in terms of visible rescue efforts across the country. There is a need for the head of state to take control of things and assure the nation that they are his top priority. This also requires his actual presence so that he can tour the country and show himself to his people. It is unfortunate that President Zardari thinks he can give credible spins on his controversial travels through articles published in the foreign media. It is his people who are questioning his commitment to them and he needs to convince them not foreign audiences. As for his justification of his last foreign trip (a private one) in terms of funds raised does not wash since in reality none of the aid pledged by foreign countries was a result of his travels. Nor did his meeting with Cameron alter the accusatory position of the British Prime Minister. Worse still, many donors are simply not prepared to give relief funds to the government; such is the lack of credibility surrounding it. To regain his nations trust, the President must lead the relief and rehabilitation effort from the front alongside his people.