Sitara-i-Imtiaz (third-highest honour and civilian award in Pakistan) holder and founder of a software company “Afiniti” Zia Chishti has been dismissed by his own software company following the allegations of sexual assault by a 23-year-old against him.

The statement on the company’s website reads, “The Board of Directors of Afiniti announces that Mr. Zia Chishti has stepped down from his role as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Afiniti, effective immediately. The Board will make additional organisational announcements in the coming days.”

Tatiana Spottiswoode, a former Afiniti employee and Zia’s friend’s daughter testified before a US (United States) congressional committee and accused Chishti of sexually abusing her.

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In her testimony, she said that she joined Afiniti on Chishti’s insistence in 2016 and told the committee her contract included an arbitration agreement with a “strong confidentiality clause” that had prevented her from speaking out about the alleged assaults.

Spottiswoode said her body was “covered with scratches, cuts, and contusions”.

“I had bruises around my neck that looked like I had been strangled, a large bump on my head, and a black eye. A nurse at the hospital said I had the symptoms of a concussion,” she added.

However, the software company said it had “investigated Spottiswoode’s claims with independent counsel and concluded that the arbitral decision she references was erroneous”.

The news also affected the Pakistan Stock Market on Thursday as Chishti is also the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of TRG (The Resource Group) Pakistan Limited, reports Dawn.