I used to think that only Pakistanis and Indians indulge in tax evasion. Then I met a man from one of the Scandinavian countries who told me that some people in his country hate paying taxes and don't miss any opportunity to cheat the government. I know many Pakistanis who dole out more than a million every year to charity, but refuse to pay their due share of taxes. The two and a half percent "zakat" or wealth tax ordained by Islam is sacred for most Muslims, yet they will do their utmost to avoid paying government taxes. Some of our politicians don't even have a national tax number, leave alone pay taxes.
Perhaps one reason for this is the widely-held perception that most of our taxes are siphoned away into foreign bank accounts, or used to sustain the lavish lifestyles of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. Besides this, there are certain segments of the population which are exempted from payment of taxes, like agriculturists, civil servants and army personnel.
I once tried to persuade a distant relative to get his business (a small retail shop) registered with the tax department. "You must be crazy," he said when I told him I had registered myself and my wife and we were paying taxes regularly. He said that once a Pakistani is registered as a tax payer, the tax hounds will appear every month to extract bribes from him. "You don't have to bribe anyone if you don't cheat on taxes", I said to him. "You can't survive if you pay tax, and if you don't steal electricity and gas," he said.
I don't think the incoming government of Imran Khan will be successful in recovering more taxes than the previous governments. Imran Khan himself pays only  Rs. 8,000 every year as income tax, despite living in a huge palatial mansion and having a big staff for its maintenance. I wonder if he will give up his lavish lifestyle after he becomes the prime minster next week. I doubt it, in fact I won't be surprised if he turns out to be worse than his predecessors.