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Former Pakistani PM Sharif to Join Lawyers' March

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says he will join thousands of lawyers and activists in a march for the reinstatement of judges fired by President Pervez Musharraf.

The so-called "long march" began in Karachi earlier this week and will culminate Thursday with a rally and a sit-in outside the parliament building in Islamabad.

Mr. Sharif has appealed to Pakistani citizens to join the protests. He told reporters in Islamabad Wednesday he would participate in the march Thursday.

Organizers of the rally are also demanding the removal of President Musharraf and the restoration of the judiciary.

The two main groups in Pakistan's ruling coalition - Mr. Sharif's (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) party and the Pakistan People's Party led by Asif Ali Zardari - remain deadlocked on how to restore the judges.

Mr. Sharif wants an unconditional reinstatement, while Zardari wants to link their reinstatement to the constitutional amendments.

Ministers from the former prime minister's party resigned from the cabinet last month to protest the coalition's failure to restore fired judges by May 12.

President Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November and fired judges who questioned the legitimacy of his re-election as president while also serving as Pakistan's top military officer.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.