One of the roles of the two years course at the Pakistan Military Academy is to build the character of the cadets. The PMA cadets, upon their entry in the academy are honoured with the sobriquet of gentlemen cadet. The word 'gentleman' is the ultimate honour for two years of hard training, which embeds a certain kind of character in the soul that perseveres through thick and thin. The character is always under an active vigil. This character eventually produces the finished state-of-the-art product called the 'commissioned officer'. The army teaches us to behave valiantly under the most adverse of environment. During the service very rigid standards are set to maintain the character which is constantly honed through professionalism. About fifty percent officers are not even promoted to the rank of Lt Col, yet the unlucky ones take it in their stride. Also, only one person makes it to the top but no cribbing is ever visibly seen. We, almost the entire lot have been left behind in promotion at one stage or the other. But we do not wash our linen in public. Exceptions have lately emerged which hurt the image of the institution. -BRIG (Retd) A.Q. ANJUM, Rawalpindi, via e-mail, June 21.