Islamabad: Pakistan’s newly appointed Attorney General barrister Khalid Jawed Khan on Monday refused to represent the government in the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, citing a “conflict of interest”.

He asked the court to accept the government’s application for Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman to argue the case.

Appearing before the 10-member full bench of the Supreme Court hearing Justice Faez Isa’s petition, he requested the court to spare him from representing the state in the case.

On his first day in office, the new AG gave a clear message to the bench that he was not taking the path of confrontation like his predecessor Anwar Mansoor Khan.

“My Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman will argue the case as he has been preparing for it for sometime,” the AG said.

Amir Rehman requested the court to adjourn the case and set a date for hearing after March 20 since he would be travelling abroad.

Justice Umer Ata Bandial, who is heading the full bench hearing the case, responded to this by setting the next hearing’s date for March 30.

“On the same date, we shall hear the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) petition for action against Law Minister Farogh Naseem,” Justice Bandial said.

The PBC has demanded expulsion of the law minister from the federal cabinet in the “larger national interest” after the controversy over remarks by former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan against Supreme Court judges.

It PBC has accused the law minister to be the “mastermind of the conspiracy against the judiciary” and urged the Prime Minister Imran Khan to expel him from the cabinet.

The PCB vice-chairman Abid Saqi said though the council welcomed Mansoor Khan’s resignation, it believed the former attorney general’s statement before the Supreme Court was in line with the stance of the federal government and the concerned person in the government was fully aware of it.

The statement added that conduct and activities of the federal law minister aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary and continuity of the democratic process.