LAHORE The 31st National Games have once again been postponed due to security reasons with concerns coming from the executive committee of the Pakistan Olympics Association. It is for the second time that the Games have fallen victim to the uncertain security situation in the country. Addressing a press conference here, POA president Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan, said that the Games have been rescheduled and will now be played from December 25 to 31. The National Games are the biggest domestic sporting event in Pakistan and more than 5,000 athletes take part. There are 26 mens events and 12 womens events in sports such as badminton, table tennis, volleyball and athletics. Syed Aaqil Shah, chief National Games organising committee, Khaliq Khan, Col Yahya and Maj Afzal were also present on the occasion. We have put a long date for the organization of the games because it would clear the air over security concern raised by all the stake-holders, the sports federations, players and the parents in particular, he added. The time and again postponement of the games caused Rs 10 million financial losses to the organizers while the total cost of the games is Rs 60 million, informed Aaqil. The POA Executive Committee held a meeting to consider all the aspects regarding the successful holding of the National Games in the NWFP with special emphasis on the issue of security, said Arif. All the members were briefed about the findings of the POA Security Committee, which had recently visited all the venues of the Games in NWFP and had held meetings with the top security officials. Although there were issues with the security arrangements, the recent spate of bomb blasts raised some serious concerns and questions regarding an incident-free holding of the traditional gala. All the members believe that security of each athlete, official as well as the spectators, is and should be, the top priority. Although it was felt that the security situation was much better than before, however, the probability of an incident could not be ruled out. The members were of the view that a complete incident-free holding of the Games is also very important in order to attract the foreign athletes to resume their visits to Pakistan. The slightest of incident would not only unnecessarily put the lives of the athletes and spectators at stake but would also jeopardise the holding of sports events in Pakistan for a long time. For this reason, the members with the consent of the NWFP Olympic Association have decided to give more time to the hosts to further review the security arrangements under the current situation. The games are therefore being postponed to December 25 to 31, he added. He said that during year the Pakistan athletes are to take part in the Youth Games, Commonwealth Games, beach Games and the Asian Games and the purpose to keep this long duration is that the situation would hopefully improve, he believed.