Why do our leaders buy choice properties, palaces and penthouses abroad especially in and around Londons posh areas at such astronomical prices? After all, they can always rent luxury lairs of the kind at less than a months interest (if they keep that money in bank) of what it costs to acquire these plums. Apart from the wads of money they shell out for initial purchase, it costs them a packet on regular maintenance and running expense of these palatial properties. Why spend such a huge lot unless one wants an assured haven to slither back into when running from the law or fleeing the country? In which case, it is certainly a most prudent investment? -COL. RIAZ JAFRI (RETD), Rawalpindi, August 16.