Pakistan is a country in the Middle East and is the sixth most populous country in the world. This Islamic country is bordered by India and Iran, as well as a few others. Like many developing countries, there are areas that have been modernized, and other areas that are in abject poverty. In an attempt to fight insurgents, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has recently submitted an order to shut down the BlackBerry Enterprise Services, specifically BlackBerry messaging and e-mails. The question is, with approximately 660 GBPS supposedly being monitored and stored from the country’s fiber optic network, where is the line drawn between citizens’ privacy, and national security? That is a good if not the best reason to use a VPN.
Since BlackBerry Enterprise Services are encrypted and stored off-shore, they present a problem to surveillance. Though BlackBerry Limited has agreed to cooperate with the PTA under lawful orders, they state they have never offered unfettered access to their BES servers. Because of that, the government has ordered the shutdown of their encrypted services for all mobile users. The BlackBerry in Pakistan will effectively become just like a normal cellular phone. Six days prior to this announcement, the Pakistanis stated they were going to increase surveillance on electronic communications. If you are traveling to or living in Pakistan, all of your communications should be done with a VPN.
Given the increased monitoring, let’s discuss some reasons for using a VPN in Pakistan. Clearly, the government does not like encryption. By using a VPN, you could create a secure connection to a server, possibly in another country. The government sees this kind of traffic as encrypted, but is unable to see specifics. Whereas we do understand the need to protect national security, Pakistan has widespread corruption on almost all levels. There are big opportunities for data to be mishandled.
As we mentioned, BlackBerry Enterprise Services are blocked, but so are things like Voice over IP (VoIP) and Skype. Imagine you were traveling to Pakistan on business and you wanted to speak with your loved ones from your country. Since the voice program Skype is blocked there, the way to access it would be to connect to a VPN and you would be able to get around that restriction. The same could be said with the popular premium internet streaming service, Netflix. There is currently no form of Netflix anywhere in the Middle East. Providing you had a paid subscription, you would simply connect to a VPN and you could view whichever region you wanted to. Of course, this will also help unblock websites or channels that may be geo-blocked there.
By now, the advantages of using a VPN in Pakistan should be relatively clear, but we will go over them again. The best reason to use a VPN there is for security. Even if we were to remove the government’s oppressive monitoring of internet traffic from this equation, there are still plenty of other people that would love to get their hands on your private data. VPNs provide a layer of encryption to your web browsing in order to protect your privacy.
The second reason is to unblock access to blocked content or sites. As you see, the government is blocking access to certain websites and applications inside Pakistan. Companies can also block content if you are located outside of a targeted area, based on IP. A VPN will help you gain access to both scenarios. Which provider should you choose though?
We have some good recommendations for Pakistan regarding which options to choose. Though all of our options use secure encryption, using the OpenVPN protocol would always be your best choice whenever possible. If speed is of the essence, you would use OpenVPN (UDP). That is the best option for Skype, VoIP, online gaming, or even using streaming services like Netflix. If you have connection issues and problems with the connection dropping, your favored option should be OpenVPN (TCP). The latter may slow the connection somewhat, but the data goes through error checking. To stream or connect to a VPN by using a mobile network, you can also look into other protocols including L2TP and IKEv2 for good privacy.
If you want to unblock content or secure your data, we recommend ExpressVPN. They don’t keep logs and have a kill switch feature, so it insures your web activity is secure. If you want to try your hand at streaming Netflix, ExpressVPN again is the best choice. They have a ver large network, and offer a mobile client as well, so you would only need to connect, and you would be able to stream from the countries with the largest content libraries. The US has the biggest one for now.
If you just want to have access to geo-restricted content, you would want to pick ExpressVPN MediaStreamer. Their Smart DNS service will aid in unblocking channels without the slight speed loss. Since all major cities in Pakistan offer broadband speeds from 1-50 mbps, we would suggest going with the encrypted option. We would not recommend trading security for speed. Whereas speed is a problem if you are trying to stream in some cases, since you only need a speed of 800 mbps, there should be no degradation of quality. The extra layer of encryption is worth any speed loss.
In the interest of clarity, please take a look at our top 10 VPN services if you would like other options. The options we mention in this post are the best overall, so you probably won’t need to. We used security, speed, and price as criteria in our choices. In addition, we also picked the ones with large numbers of network servers you may wish to connect to. Reliable VPN providers will secure your privacy and have fast networks for streaming high definition content from other countries. Our choices do both.