LAHORE - In a surprise move Provincial Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah personally appeared before an election tribunal comprising judges of the Lahore High Court who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order of November 3. The minister recorded his statement and also submitted an affidavit denying that he uttered any derogatory remarks against the judiciary. The minister stated that he believed in independence of judiciary and therefore took in high esteem the Supreme Court and the High Court. He also stated that he never made any derogatory statement against Chief Justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar or any other judge. The tribunal comprising Justice Mian Najamuz Zaman and Justice Tariq Shamim was hearing an appeal challenging acceptance of Rana's nomination papers from PP-70 Faisalabad. The court has summoned him to clarify his position on alleged remarks against judiciary. In the light of Rana's statement the appellant withdrew his appeal and the tribunal allowed him to contest bye-election from Faisalabad. The tribunal dismissed the petition as withdrawal. The minister further stated, in good faith, he believed that PCO of November 3, 2007 was an extra-constitutional act and being a practicing lawyer and a responsible citizen of Pakistan had a constitutional obligation to express his opinion in this regard. He never passed derogatory remarks against the judiciary. The statement, if any has been published on his behalf was without any reference to the context. After coming out the courtroom, Rana told media persons," I never accept PCO judges. I have not come to seek any remedy rather to clarify his position that he did not utter derogatory remarks against any judge." When asked that at one hand he had provided CJP's protocol to Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry while on the other he had submitted his power of attorney before PCO judges, the law minister said that he still recognised Justice Iftikhar as constitutional CJP while the present incumbents were defacto judges. He said, had the tribunal asked him about recognition of PCO judges, he would have categorically stated that he did not recognise them. A voter Ubaid Ullah had challenged the acceptance of nomination paper of the minister for Punjab assembly seat PP-70, Faisalabad. The petitioner alleged that Rana Sana made derogatory remarks about judiciary and tried to ridicule it. He also stated that Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is a deposed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan but Rana Sana gave him protocol of Chief Justice, which amounted to contempt of apex court. He said that such a person could not be held eligible to contest the election. He requested to declare his candidature as illegal. Rana Sana was a PML-N candidate for PP-70 during the general election of February 2008, which was postponed due to death of Pakistan Gharib Party's Ch Asghar Ali Randhawa. Later, when the provincial government was formed he was made the law minister. Under the article 132 of the Constitution, he could remain the cabinet member for six month during which he had to win the election on provincial assembly seat.