BlackBerry to continue services in Pakistan

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On Monday this week, we reported how BlackBerry would not be shutting down services in Pakistan on December 30 but would allow the service to continue while negotiations with the Pakistan authorities were still ongoing.

Only a day after the deadline expired and Marty Beard, Chief Operating Officer at BlackBerry, has now confirmed that BlackBerry will now continue services in Pakistan as the the Government of Pakistan has rescinded its shutdown order and dropped their access demands.

“After productive discussions, the Government of Pakistan has rescinded its shutdown order, and BlackBerry has decided to remain in the Pakistan market.

We are grateful to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Pakistani government for accepting BlackBerry’s position that we cannot provide the content of our customers’ BES traffic, nor will we provide access to our BES servers.

We look forward to serving the Pakistani market for years to come, including introducing new products and services, and thank our valued customers in Pakistan for their patience and loyalty.”

Back in July of this year, the Ministry of Interior in Pakistan had taken the decision to block BlackBerry’s secure Enterprise Services (BES), issuing directives to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to implement the decision from 1st December 1, 2015.

At the time,  Pakistan Telecommunications Authority had said that all BlackBerry services, including Enterprise Services, could continue in Pakistan if the cellular companies provide law enforcement agencies access to its BES services.

“It is a wrong perception that PTA is going to ban BlackBerry services in the country. Instead we have been asking the company to provide us access to its secure Enterprise Services (BES) for many years, and now finally, we have issued them notice that if they don’t provide us access to BES data, in the next 90 days, we will block BES services, in the country”

Sources had confirmed that if companies complied with government demand, its BES services would be allowed to continue.

At the end of November, Marty Beard, Chief Operating Officer at BlackBerry confirmed  that the Pakistani government wanted the ability to monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in the country and that BlackBerry would cease operations in Pakistan on November 30.

“After November 30, BlackBerry will no longer operate in Pakistan. While we regret leaving this important market and our valued customers there, remaining in Pakistan would have meant forfeiting our commitment to protect our users’ privacy. That is a compromise we are not willing to make.”

This anouncement led to immediate negotiations, with BlackBerry delaying shutting down its operations in Pakistan until December 30 as negotiations continued.

As we head into 2016, this saga appears over and Blackberry users in Pakistan can continue using the services.

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