BlackBerry announces Pakistan exit by Dec 30
ISLAMABAD – BlackBerry has announced exiting from Pakistan by the end of this year.
“After December 30, BlackBerry will no longer operate in Pakistan, said Company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Marty Beard, on company’s blog.
The Canadian telecom services provider said that the decision was made as it did not wanted to compromise on privacy of its users.
Pakistani government wanted the ability to monitor all BlackBerry Enterprise Service traffic in the country, including every BES e-mail and BES BBM message, the company’s COO said on social media.
The announcement has come in response to a notice of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, issued in July this year, asking the Canadian company to provide access to BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) or its enterprise services will be blocked by November 30.
The regulator this month informed the service provider that the deadline had been extended to one more month.
On which, the company delayed its exit, until the new shutdown date of December 30.
BlackBerry said the authorities wanted to shut down BES service only but exiting from Pakistani market was company’s own decision.
“Although the Pakistani government’s directive was aimed only at our BES servers, we have decided to exit the market altogether, because Pakistan’s demand for open access to monitor a significant swath of our customers’ communications within its borders left us no choice but to exit the country entirely.
The post further said that leaving Pakistani market was a tough decision.
“Remaining in Pakistan would have meant forfeiting our commitment to protect our users’ privacy.
That is a compromise we are not willing to make,” CEO stated in his post.
On the other hand sources claim that PTA deadline to close BES was just a threat.
PTA only wanted to gain the access to BES, after the announcement of exit, the local authorities were trying hard to keep the company in the country, a source aid.
The PTA officials avoided to answer the question that whether they were considering some flexibility in earlier decision of shutting down the BES after BB announcement of leaving the country.
“We are still in contact with BlackBerry Limited to find out a solution, BB was earlier asked to provide access to BES till 30th November but the deadline has been extended to one more month,” PTA official said.
There are between 4,000-5,000 users of BES service in Pakistan and most of the users are diplomats and other top bosses of multinational companies, who prefer the service due to its special broadcast features and strong security, which cannot be decoded or traced by local security agencies.
BlackBerry handsets are especially designed and latest models are expensive.
What would be the fate of the BlackBerry users is still not clear.