I write to you from New Delhi where I am finally safe and sound.
I want to begin by thanking the Pakistani military for the care and safety they provided me as well as thank members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for all of their efforts. With all of my heart I mourn the deaths of the six members of the Pakistani Military, men who lost their lives in the line of duty fighting against barbaric terrorists. I send my sincerest condolences to their family and friends. I would also like to thank the representatives of the national and international media for the attention they have given me these days, and my supporters as well as my family and friends for their constant and unwavering love and encouragement.
The unfortunate death of six soldiers, bears no relation to the events of which I was a victim
I want to make clear, contrary to some comments and published reports, at the time of the attack on the vehicle we were traveling in we were alone on the road. The six police officers, who unfortunately lost their lives, did not die in the attack on our vehicle and therefore bear no relation with me. Fortunately, the driver and the escort traveling with me, were able to escape with their lives, I was the only person wounded in the attack.
The protection of escorts from the Pakistani authorities was compulsory, to which I am eternally grateful
The protection of the Armed Forces is provided throughout the territory due to terrorist activity in the area, and was not in any way provided to me exclusively. Pakistani military and police in the line of duty keep watch over the safety of all residents and travelers in the area.
I never asked for an escort from the Pakistani army, but I took the recommendations and precautions they provided me. Thanks to their anonymous and selfless work, I felt safe and reassured as much as is possible after seeing the effects of a bomb attack on a bus travelling with 40 Pakistani passengers, which sadly, did not leave a single survivor.
The choice of traveling through the territory, a conscious decision that I was obligated to make due to the circumstances
Due to setbacks because of the harsh travel conditions in the Iranian desert, I was not on time to take one of the two trains leaving monthly from Zahedan city bound for Quetta. My visa was expiring in two days and I decided to cross the border to get on a bus to the border town of Taftan. At all times I was aware of the complications involved in passage through the territory, but in the exercise of my freedom, I was ready to meet them without help and by my own means.
Once in Taftan I followed the instructions given to me by the Pakistani army and traveled in an escorted convoy, a service granted to all travelers transiting the area.
At all times I was aware of the dangers and followed the recommendations of the army, in order to minimize the risks my journey involved.
In this challenge I’m meeting a lot of kind, hospitable, generous and interesting people. Just remember that sport unites cultures, transcends barriers and makes the world “smaller” and closer than what artificial boundaries would have us believe.
With all my heart, thank you all very much,