Pakistani-American businessman Zia Chishti, the founder and chief executive officer of software company Afiniti, has stepped down from his position following allegations of harassment and sexual abuse by a former employee. On Thursday, Afiniti’s board announced that Chishti would step down immediately.
The company said in a statement, “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 organizational announcements in the coming days”.
The announcement comes two days after a former employee, Tatiana Spottiswoode, shared her harrowing story of sexual abuse, that she had allegedly faced at the hands of Chisti, before a US congressional committee.
Spottiswoode alleged that Chishti had sexually assaulted her while on a business trip to Brazil in 2017. She added that Chishti said she should have had sex with him when she was 13 years old. Spottiswoode described how Chishti’s behaviour had caused her anxiety and induced panic attacks. She told the congressional committee that she used to be a social person but that was not the case anymore because of her horrifying experience, she explained that she now suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Zia Chishti, an American businessman and investor of Pakistani origin, was conferred with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the third-highest civilian honour of Pakistan, in 2018 by then President Mamnoon Hussain. Since the testimony by Spottiswoode, there have been calls by many on social media to take back the award from Chishti.