Pakistan has a weak tax collection system, indeed. But matters have also become worse because Pakistan’s tax net is minimal. People do not understand the simple correlation between taxes and the welfare work that the state carries out. The Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan Imran Khan in his appeal before the nation showed a bleak picture in this regard when he said that only one per cent of Pakistan’s total population paid taxes.

PM Khan has once again urged the nation to pay taxes so that the country could be steered out of the economic crisis. The tactic that Khan relied on was to record a short video message in this regard. The strategy of appealing to the masses through such short video can work as every citizen can feel a sense of responsibility lying on his shoulders to get the country out of economic turmoil. Nevertheless, Imran would need to appeal in person the nation again and again. Continuous appeals in this regard would do the trick for Imran Khan. He also knows it that he’s good at interacting directly with the public and that people usually do respond to his calls positively.

That much said; imagine a situation where only one per cent out of 220 million Pakistanis pay taxes. How can one expect the state to cater for all the social services – education, health, transport and housing – that people need to live a normal life? If the government kitty is empty, it cannot lay the network of social services across the country. There is no rocket science involved in understanding the simple correlation between public giving taxes and enjoying the social services that the state is supposed to provide.

It is about time that people respond to the call of their leader who assures them that no one shall abuse their money. People have no other option but to trust the PM who guarantees them that the collected money will be spent on their welfare.

While it is good that the PM is using his personality and personal charisma to bring more and more people in the tax net, nevertheless, it is also true that the government cannot get out of the economic crisis even if it brings all earning people into the tax net. It is nothing more than a myth that the sole imbalance in revenue and expenditure owes to the fact that one per cent of the total population pay taxes. It is just an easy escape for a more complex problem. Still, if people respond to Imran’s call, it will ease the burden on the government to an extent.