Among the pledges that propelled Prime Minister Imran Khan to power three years ago, one was to bring home billions of dollars of illicit money the super-rich and ‘corrupt’ politicians had stashed abroad. Trying to make good on his promise, Khan’s government has introduced a string of tough new measures in recent months designed to crack down on tax evaders and ‘black money,’ fueling panic among the country’s elite and growing numbers of millionaires. No one knows for sure how much black money is hidden in Pakistan and overseas. Estimates range from $400 billion and so on. The government hopes to choke the country’s black-money culture with measures including mandatory producing of the CNIC for people shopping with Rs50,000 or above, linking biometric identities to every bank account, declaring money from abroad against freelancing or earning from YouTube, TikTok, and other social media platforms, opening new payment gateways and promoting credit/debit card use. “The process of formalising the informal economy is underway in Pakistan,” an official of the tax department said while talking to Daily Times. He added that “A lot of people who are used to the old model of doing business in Pakistan are uncomfortable today about the new scrutiny.” Shortly after his election, PM Imran Khan vowed that he would bring black money stashed overseas back into the country and use it for development. During the election campaign, he and other members of his party made wild claims that they would bring back nearly $200 billion the very next day of taking over the government. The government has enacted strict legislation in the budget 2021-22 against those who conceal their assets. Under the new rules, filers and non-filers hiding their assets will get arrested and special courts will be set up. Secretary Karachi Tax Bar said violation of tax laws falls under the category of civil prosecution but this time the government is going to criminalise them. He said people will join the tax net after the implementation of strict tax laws.