By: Sabir Shah
LAHORE: By undertaking 65 foreign tours during his third tenure since June 2013, the sitting Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif is one of the most widely-travelled rulers in the world, reveals a research conducted in this context by the "Jang Group and Geo Television Network."
Having spent a whopping Rs638 million on his foreign trips, Nawaz Sharif has been abroad for a total of 185 days abroad, with an accompanying staff of 631 people.
According to the information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the National Assembly on a question asked by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Imran Zafari Laghari, the incumbent Pakistani prime minister has visited Britain 17 times, spending about two months in the UK, of which 32 days were listed as official stay while 24 were listed as transits. However, no matter how much Nawaz Sharif travels during the remaining part of his tenure, he would still be far behind the likes of the current and longest-ruling British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, arguably the most widely-travelled head of state in the world.
The August 30, 2015 edition of "The Telegraph" had reported: "Queen Elizabeth II, currently monarch of just 16 realms, has visited 116 countries during 265 official visits, making her by far the most travelled monarch in British history. Not bad for someone who doesn’t possess a passport. Canada has had by far the largest number of visits by the Queen at 24, with Australia trailing a distant second with 16 and New Zealand in third place with 10. Put another way, the Queen has been to Canada more times than the total of all of Victoria’s official foreign excursions combined."
American President Barack Obama has made 43 international trips to 52 different countries between 2009 and February 2016. In May 2015, Barack Obama had completed visiting all 50 US states as President, making him just the fourth out of 44 US presidents to do so after Nixon, George Bush Junior and Bill Clinton.
During his eight years in office as US President, Bill Clinton had made 133 visits to foreign nations — more foreign visits than presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon combined.
Sitting Russian President Vladimir Putin had already travelled to 50 different countries.
Sitting Turkish President and former premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has already visited 93 countries during his time in the office.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made 37 foreign trips on five continents as of February 2016.
In all, India had spent over Rs41.1 crore on his foreign trips between June 2014 and June 2015
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had surpassed Vajpayee and many other former prime ministers, earning the tag of "non-resident Prime Minister" with over 70 foreign trips and nearly Rs650 crore spent on his travel since 2004, when he was sworn in as Prime Minister for the first time.
In contrast, another Indian Premier, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had made 35 foreign trips during his tenure as Prime Minister from 1999-2004 at a cost of Rs185 crore to the state exchequer.
Former Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf had undertaken 37 foreign tours between January 2003 and January 2008 costing the national exchequer a total of Rs1.468 billion.
According to the information provided by the then foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi to the National Assembly in 2008, President Musharraf was on foreign tour every 50th day on average and spent a total of 201 days abroad during these five years under review.
Data shows that president Musharraf had visited a total of 45 countries during this period with most of the visits to Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The then president had been Saudi Arabia eight times, whereas he visited the United States six times. The other most frequently visited countries by Musharraf were UAE, Turkey, Switzerland, Malaysia, UK, France, Afghanistan, Belgium, Indonesia, Morocco and China.
Former Filipino president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, had undertaken 127 foreign trips, while her predecessors Fidel V. Ramos and Benigno S. Aquino III had embarked upon 69 and 45 international journeys respectively during their stipulated tenures in office.
Former Indonesian head of state, Abdurrahman Wahid, had traveled to 80 countries. He was elected as president in October 1999 and kept traveling all over the world until he got impeached in July 2001.
For the sake of information, Pope John Paul II (1978–2005) was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate.
Hopeful US presidential candidate and country's former Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton had visited 112 countries covering a total of 956,733 air miles -- hence making her the most widely traveled American Secretary of State in history.
According to the January 29, 2013 edition of the "ABC News," her total travel time was 2,084, 21 hours or 86.8 days. She had travelled for 401 days and had over 570 airplane meals.
Interestingly, there are a number of ordinary people claiming to have visited every country in the world. For example, according to the November 11, 2013 edition of the "Daily Mail," a British tourist, Mike Spencer Brown, had spent 23-years visiting 195 countries. The "Daily Mail" had stated: "Mr Spencer Bown had already traveled in Afghanistan on the back of a motorbike - sipping wine during a Taliban gunfight - and through Iraq during the second Gulf War. He was detained by the CIA in Pakistan, contracted a mystery strain of herpes in South Asia and mingled with penguins in Antarctica."
Albert Podell, a former editor of the "Playboy magazine," had traveled to all 196 countries on Earth.
James Asquith, a British traveler, had become the youngest person to visit every country in the world. He had spent £125,000 to achieve his dream.
A Norwegian media professional, Gunnar Garfors, claimed he had visited 98 countries by May 8, 2013, earning him the title of the youngest person to travel to every country, while maintaining a full-time job. - Originally published in TheNews