There has been a lot of criticism of our jet-setting ruling elite splurging millions of rupees on overseas travel and thus becoming the country's most extravagant and travelled leadership. President Zardari is constantly been subjected to intense fingerpointing for racking up an average of one foreign trip every month making the taxpayers pay a hefty price for his jaunts. It's difficult to keep count of his visits abroad. But some critics have enough time to work out that since assuming office our globetrotting star has made the government's wallet lighter by Rs 250 million. There is no doubt that he needs to spend more time at home rather than undertaking foreign visits at a time when the country is facing grave crises. Few would however like to give him a patient hearing when he tries to defend the amount of time he spends meeting world leaders and explaining to them that Pakistan cannot possibly cope with the IDPs' issue without their assistance. It is no easy task to make the international community pay us a blank cheque when it doesn't really trust us. One can understand how difficult it is to convince our allies to lend us money when it has become their traditional custom to distrust our democratically elected leadership. The poor response by the donors to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's appeal for funding the global effort to protect the internally displaced persons is a case in point. Perhaps while touring abroad Mr Zardari cannot take his mind off the hardships endured by millions of IDPs at the makeshift camps. That the cash-strapped government he heads does not have enough money in its kitty to deal with one of the worst humanitarian crises which keeps him on the move to get whatever friends could offer at this time of need. It shouldn't be fair to call it a sort of travel affliction or to blame the president for behaving like a captain abandoning his ship in the crisis. Mr Zardari is not bothered about those who keep lecturing him to stay home and instil courage in a despondent nation. I'm sure he loves to remain on the scene though he knows this country is not a fun place to hang on at a time when the militants are on the rampage posing threats to national security. But he understands that when the country is in flames and the Taliban are retaliating against the ongoing military operation, now being extended to the restive tribal region, he cannot sit back and watch the situation quietly. No matter what critics say he knows it's time to move around from one capital to the other, holding out a begging bowl and asking the friends to fill it up There is hardly any point in picking holes in the large entourages accompanying President Zardari on his foreign visits. After all he needs a whole battalion of experts on security affairs to ably communicate with world leaders about the gadgets Pakistan needs to fight terrorism effectively. It needs a lot of convicting to get the cash and go purchasing. A leader so deeply concerned about the dangers facing his country does not mind being accused of acting below his dignity when he is prepared to sacrifice his personal ego for the sake of the country's sovereignty. It is not just that he has to take long hauls abroad to try and get the much needed help for fighting the War on Terror or taking care of the people displaced from their homes because of the hastily planned military operation against militants. There are other important issues at hand that often keep him abroad. It was no easy thing to deal with cantankerous Indian leadership. Full marks to Mr Zardari who succeeded in convincing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resume the process of composite dialogue stalled after the Mumbai attacks. From Yekaterinburg he had to rush to Brussels to deal with the European Union leadership over the issues related to their trade with Pakistan After such hectic engagements that are all focussed on projecting the country's image and getting some good tips on running the foreign policy independently he would obviously need extended private breaks in Dubai or London. By the way how many leaders this country has had in the past who would spend their holidays abroad always thinking of doing something for the national cause Little wonder he spent three weeks relaxing in New York and touring half the Europe after his recent visit to the United States where he was a state guest for three days. Leaders often undertake foreign visits to escape the stress and strains of running nearly ungovernable governments