ISLAMABAD - The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a resolution rejecting the “unilateral” announcement made by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and shift the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, minutes before a senior government representative appreciated the services of former military dictator Gen (retd) Ziaul Haq for Pakistan.

Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq moved the resolution followed by around a five-hour-long debate in the House on the Trump’s decision which has sent a wave of seething resentment across the Muslim world.

Earlier, while taking part in the debate, senior PML-N leader who represents Prime Minister in the Senate, Raja Zafar ul Haq appreciated the services of former military dictator Gen (retd) Ziaul Haq for completing the atomic programme and called for finding the solution to the Middle East crisis following his footsteps.

“General Ziaul Haq during his regime completed the country’s atomic programme and he had sacrificed in this regard,” he said. He rejected a proposal of summoning the Senate Whole Committee to discuss the Middle East crisis after Trump’s announcement and asked for summoning an international conference on the issue. He said that the international conference of Muslim countries should silently find out a solution by giving its recommendations.

Speaking on a host of issues, he also said that questions were now being raised in Pakistan about the benefits of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project and China should review its policy regarding projects of the One-Belt-One-Road initiative.

The resolution passed condemned the US president’s announcement and called it a flagrant violation of the international law, UN Security Council resolutions and the international norms. It called upon the government to immediately convene a joint sitting of the Parliament to discuss the issue and demanded that the government should explain its policy and the initiatives to be taken to address the grave and immediate challenge.

“The Senate expresses its serious concern over the implications of this decision for international peace and security, especially in the Middle East,” says the resolution. It called upon the UN Security Council to take cognizance of the situation and take steps in accordance with the UN Charter and a number of its own resolutions according to which establishment of settlements by Israel in the Palestinian territory, occupied since 1967 including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity.

“The house declares that the position taken by the US president has exposed the so-called position of the United States as of an independent peace broker and put a halt to the peace talks.”

The resolution urged the US to revisit its decision as soon as possible in order to avoid the potentially grave repercussions in the region and beyond and to play its role to de-escalate the situation on the ground on the basis of international laws, international humanitarian laws and the previous agreements and obligations.

The resolution declared that “all the revealed religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam claim their affiliation with the holy city of Jerusalem, however, the US president through his announcement has tried to nullify the religious diversity present in the territory”.

“The House reiterates that any attempt to sabotage the peace process will be the darkest decision of the history and historical wrongs can never be lasting, says the resolution.”

The House through resolution appreciated that the international community has rejected the position taken by the US president, which has resulted in the isolated United States of America at the international front. It condemned the killings of innocent citizens at the hands of Israeli forces saying, “this proves that the US decision is an aggression and a declaration of war on Palestinians”.

The House rejected Israel’s sovereignty over all or any part of Palestine including Jerusalem and reaffirmed its full support, solidarity, and commitment to the Palestinian brothers and sisters towards their just cause of freedom.

As the House started the debate on the Trump’s announcement, while suspending the entire agenda of the day and to show solidarity with the people of Palestine, a number of lawmakers asked for boycotting the US products. The proposal was later rejected by some opposition lawmakers including PPP Senator Sherry Rehman and MQM lawmaker Muhammad Ali Saif. The lawmakers called the decision as an attempt of terrorism and a move to increase tensions in the Middle East. They said that the US announcement was aimed at initiating a new war in the region.

Sherry Rehman said Pakistan through a foreign policy statement must explicitly say that it did not recognize the decision but added that the boycott of US was not an option. “The statement is very important in foreign policy,” she said and added that the country had now become leaderless. She also urged the need for the UN intervention. She said that Pakistan should take a position like the Turkey has taken. She said that the prime minister and the foreign minister should come to the House and give a policy statement.

Senator Sajid Mir asked for the annulment of all agreements of Muslim countries with the US especially the defence and arms purchase deal accords.

PML-Q lawmaker Saeed Mandokel and some other lawmakers said that the Muslim leadership in the 1970s including former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had a role in international politics. They deplored that the Muslim leadership of that period was eliminated through international conspiracies. They also asked for sending a tough message to the international community following the footsteps of Turkey.

MQM Senator Muhammad Ali Saif said that the proposal of the boycott of the US was not advisable and added that those giving this proposal should surrender their US visas first. He said that Muslims had a controversial history saying unfortunately many people in Pakistan did not know about this history and always keep floating non-practical proposals to resolve issues of the Muslim community.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that Trump’s unilateral move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel not only violated the 50 years bipartisan consensus in the US and was against UN resolutions but it also sought to dangerously trivialize the explosive and emotive issue of Palestine paving way for a new wave of terrorism.

He said that former prime minister Aerial Sharon visit to the area in 1993 was the catalyst of intifada culminating a few years later in the cataclysmic event of 9/11. The latest Trump move will result in a new wave of the intifada and spurt a new wave of terrorism, he said.

He asked whether the recently cobbled together military alliance of Islamic countries will also fight this terrorism and asked for including this issue in the terms of reference of the alliance.

Babar said that Pakistan was faced with a dilemma. It had joined the coalition and allowed a former army chief to also command it. The coalition was perceived to be against Iran and Hezbollah, the two formidable opponents of Israel’s expansionist policies. Pakistan, he said, was thus placed in a situation and continuing to head the coalition would be perceived as a bloc opposing anti-Israel forces in the region.

He called for the withdrawal of Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif as commander of the coalition to prevent rising of this negative perception.