Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that a treason case should be lodged against Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for ‘conspiring to topple Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’. “He should be charged under Article 6 of the constitution,” Imran Khan told a select group of journalists at the PM House, referring to remarks made by JUI-F chief wherein he had claimed that the PTI government was about to be sent packing. “Who gave you [Fazlur Rehman] this indication?” the prime minister questioned, adding that the government is deliberating on the future course of action in this regard. “The government will complete its term, it’s not going anywhere,” he maintained. During the interaction, the prime minister dwelt at length on the reasons leading to the current economic woes of the country. The present situation, he said, has a 10-year old history, when the governments of Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were in power. He said the first year of his government was the most difficult period, as the country risked a default as it had foreign exchange reserves for two weeks only. “We feared sanctions and host of related problems had we failed in the payment of loan installment of 10 billion US dollars,” he said. “The Pakistani rupee parity could have peaked to Rs 200 a dollar, skyrocketing the prices of everything. Had Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China not helped us at that critical juncture, Pakistan would have defaulted,” he said. The prime minister pointed to the agreements signed by the previous regimes with the private power producers and said under the new contracts his government is getting wind energy at the rate of 5 US cents per unit against 24 US cents from the old power producers, showing a huge gap. His government, he said, has also managed to cut down the circular debt to Rs 12 billion from Rs 36 billion per month. “Similarly, the international gas price today is available at half the price of what Pakistan was getting as it has now entered a 15-year-long contract,” he said. Imran Khan said corruption, which is one of the major reasons for poverty in the developing and under-developed countries, needs to be tackled on priority. He mentioned the action taken by the Chinese government against 450 ministerial level people and said unless Pakistan remains firm in its commitment to stem the menace, it cannot progress. Imran Khan said there are cartels in every sector of economy and pointed to the dismal performance of the Competition Commission of Pakistan, which is not accomplishing the tasks it was assigned. The government is going to fix it as unless it starts working effectively, there can be no check on the cartels, who raise the price of any commodity at will. He was optimistic that his government will be able to tackle the issue as he has no business interests. He gave the example of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, whose inefficient working led to the forced return of over 5,000 doctors from Saudi Arabia. “When we tried to change it, the whole mafia of fake degrees and dubious medical colleges got activated against the government,” he said. Describing the recent price hike of edible items as ‘avoidable’, the prime minister said he is awaiting the report of a high-level probe into sharp increase in the prices of wheat flour and sugar that caused widespread criticism on the government. “We will fix responsibility and find why it happened,” he said. “The joint investigation team has submitted its report about the factors leading to the price hike, however, I have returned it to fill the voids,” he said. “We will share the information with the public and put in place a system so as to ensure there is no such repeat,” he added. When asked whether the report pointed the finger at Jehangir Tareen and Khusro Bakhtiar, Imran Khan said, “There were no names. It had [report] gaps, and we have asked to submit a more comprehensive one.” Imran Khan said the opposition parties have no interest in the issue of price hike, and their only worry is about whether they will go to jail or not for their corruption, and how to create instability in the country. “I faced six cases and did not seek refuge in London. I submitted 60 documents to give my money trail of bringing in dollars from abroad to Pakistan. While they [leaders of PML-N and PPP] did not submit even a single original document,” he asked. When asked about the differences in his party and with the allies, the prime minister questioned, “In which political party you do not find difference of opinion? Just see the situation in the two main opposition parties, or for that matter in any other political party in the world.” The concerns of the allies have already been addressed, he said. Imran Khan said his government is going to bring in necessary changes in the electoral laws of Senate so as to adopt the ‘show of hands’ procedure for voting and do away with the current secret balloting system, which leads to leveling of allegations of bribery. “We had to show door to 20 of our MPAs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for just this reason, as we got information that they sold their votes,” he said, adding that change is also in the offing in the electoral laws and use of modern biometric technology so that any losing party cannot claim that it was the outcome of rigging. The prime minister answered in negative when asked whether his government intends to put any curbs on the media. He said it was he who suggested to former president Pervez Musharraf to allow news channels in the private sector. He said he had a long experience of interacting with the media in Pakistan and abroad. He said just prior to his first visit to China, two leading English dailies had a lead story that he was going to Beijing to review the CPEC project, which caused immense embarrassment for the government in China. He said similarly his remarks about creation of jobs were distorted and only in two months, 21 fake news were attributed to him by leading newspapers. “I am not perturbed because of allegations on my person, but, in fact, it is causing embarrassment to the government and Pakistan,” he said.