Pakistan apparently has decided to ban BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES), blaming “security concerns” as the reason. Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior last week reportedly told the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to implement the ban by blocking the BES connectivity starting Dec. 1, the Express Tribune reported.

BES is BlackBerry’s middleware program that allows BlackBerry devices to “access corporate messaging and collaboration software such as Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise,” Tech Target said. The service offers a secure platform for companies and enterprises, enabling them to have autonomous, highly manageable features on BlackBerry devices. This service can also control the type of access given to different networks or services, Phone Arena said.

Following the issuance of the directive, the PTA sent letters to Pakistan-specific mobile network operators explaining the need for the ban, which is not expected to affect BlackBerry Internet Services, BlackBerry’s legacy consumer platform, which allows the old BlackBerry smartphones to connect to the Internet.

BES is predominantly a business-grade service and might affect only 4,000 to 5,000 customers in Pakistan, PTA spokesman Khurram Mehran said. “There was a challenge that the BlackBerry email service could not be tracked or decoded, which leads to the security reasons,” Mehran said in explaining the ban. When asked about the BES service being active in other countries, Mehran said Pakistan's security situation is more severe.

This is not the first time Pakistan has banned services. A similar attempt was made in 2011 when the PTA banned BlackBerry services in an attempt to block Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media websites, citing “blasphemous content” as the reason as well as security issues, the Express Tribune reported.

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