The 179th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the leader of the Sikh Empire, was observed at the historic Bala Hissar Fort in Peshawar on Wednesday evening. It was observed for the first time in Pakistan’s history at the fort that now serves as headquarters of Frontier Corps (FC), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.Earlier, the anniversary used to be observed in Mohallah Jogan Shah’s Gurdwara in the interior Peshawar city. Bala Hissar, also spelt Bala Hisar, is a historic fort that was used as a royal residence for the Durrani Empire, and was renovated during the Sikh Empire. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the leader of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. He survived smallpox in infancy but lost sight in his left eye. He was born in Gujranwala (now in Pakistan) on November 13, 1780, and died on June 27, 1839, in Lahore. Special prayers were offered for peace in Pakistan on the occasion. Sikh leader Gorpal Singh said that special permission was sought from inspector general of the FC for observing the anniversary in the fort premises. The speakers on the occasion threw light on various aspects of life of Singh who, they said, was equally regarded and respected by people of other faiths and religions. His services for the cause of gurdwaras were also remembered on the occasion.