It is heartening to learn that the COAS is observing 2008 as Year of the Soldier. A number of welfare projects are being implemented with encouraging results. However, the involvement of some army units in commercial activities with fabulous financial gains to some high officials do not conform to the time-honoured principles and graces of the military traditions. For example, healthcare is good but some seniors have tarnished its image through commercial activities at the cost of soldiers, both serving and retired including war veterans. No old soldier could ever imagine that one day he would see patients in military hospitals being used for training of paying civilian medical students and graduates; or that he would be denied a bed in a military hospital because of admission of private civilian patients on the pretext of emergency. It is a summary of my personal experience and observation of various military hospitals in three major cities. Similar examples can be given about some other army units including Army Heritage Foundation projecting a poor image of army. I sincerely hope that the Year of the Soldier will also see taming of the undesirable scale of commercial activities in some army units to regain the time-honoured grace of the military traditions to the satisfaction of the poor nation which is sacrificing vast land and a major portion of its welfare budget on foreign loans to provide for the Armed Forces. -M. ASLAM CHAUDHRY, Islamabad, October 30.