Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, today alleged that India has "imposed war on Pakistan" by constructing "illegal dams" and diverting water of Pakistani rivers and said the government must prepare the nation to counter this aggression.
Saeed made the remarks while launching a "nationwide protest" against what he described as India's "theft" of Pakistan's share of river waters.
A declaration adopted at the rally said: "If India continues with her water terrorism, Pakistan must keep open the option of using force."
It alleged that India had "virtually declared war on Pakistan by unlawfully constructing dams and diverting Pakistani rivers".
"We also call upon our government to build unity among various religious, political and civil society groups so that we stand solid behind the Pakistan Army as India is, in fact, preparing to impose war on Pakistan," the declaration claimed.
The declaration contended that Kashmir is a disputed territory according to United Nations' resolutions and called on the UN and the world community to take "immediate notice of controversial Indian projects in a disputed territory and force India to stop this aggression that may trigger war between two nuclear armed neighbours".
Sunday's rally was the latest show of force by the JuD and Saeed, who had been keeping a low profile in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Saeed was briefly detained by Pakistani authorities after India accused him of masterminding the attacks, but was freed on the orders of the Lahore high court in June last year.
Over the past few weeks, Saeed and other JuD leaders have addressed a series of gatherings and given media interviews in which they have backed calls for 'jihad' against
India and expressed support for militant groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir.
Hundreds of people, including farmers riding tractors, participated in today's rally. India and Pakistan have serious differences over sharing of waters in rivers such as Indus and Chenab.
The protestors marched from Nasir Bagh ground to the assembly on Mall Road, where Saeed addressed the gathering.
The participants carried banners and placards with slogans like "Water or War", "Diversion of Pakistani rivers -- Indian water bomb", "Water flows or blood", "Liberate Kashmir to secure water" and "No peace with Indian water aggression".
During his speech, Saeed claimed he wanted peace in the region and alleged that it was "India which is imposing war on Pakistan".
He said, "My crime is that I speak for the oppressed people of occupied Kashmir and India. My religion demands that I should speak for Indian Muslims and other minorities subjugated by the ruling elite of India."
Saeed claimed the UN Security Council acted "in haste" while imposing sanctions against the JuD but was "totally silent on controversial Indian projects in a disputed territory".
Saeed claimed India wanted to "disintegrate Pakistan" by "water aggression" and Pakistan's rulers "must come forward to stop Indian aggression".
JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid told PTI the rally was organised to protest the "construction of Indian dams on Pakistani rivers in occupied Kashmir".
He said farmers from across Pakistan joined the rally and demanded that the government take practical steps to secure Pakistan's share of river waters.
The declaration adopted at the rally described actions taken by the government to safeguard Pakistan's interests as "terribly insufficient and disappointing".
A dialogue without an agenda and meetings of the Indus Waters Commission are insufficient and some "practical" steps need to be taken, it said.
If India is unwilling to recognise Kashmir and the waters issue as a "core dispute", "there is no use wasting time in pointless India-Pakistan dialogue", it said.
The declaration also accused India of opening "military consulates and Research and Analysis Wing camps along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to train, finance and equip terrorists who carry out attacks in Pakistan".
Saeed contended that the waters issue was a "matter of life and death for Pakistan" and vowed to organise similar protests in all parts of the country.