Human error blamed for livestreamed briefing in which officials appeared as cats
As a veteran journalist Shaukat Yousafzai was used to press conferences. He had also served as regional health minister, representative of the ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf party, and adviser to Pakistans prime minister, Imran Khan.
Last week, however, Yousafzai found himself cast in an unlikely new role: cat person, with big pink ears. And whiskers.
Yousafzai was giving a a briefing to reporters in Peshawar when a member of his social media team inadvertently switched on the cat filter. The event was streamed live on Facebook.
It was several minutes before organisers realised that the minister had acquired pointy ears. When one of his moustached party colleagues began to speak, looking earnest and holding a pen, he too was transformed into a cat.
Party followers watching online immediately started making jokes at the expense of Pakistans provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. They offered up a whole series of feline puns.
One suggested the middle-aged minister looked kind of cute. Another wrote meow meow meow.
Yousafzai confirmed the cat incident and said other party colleagues had suffered the same fate.
I wasnt the only one. Two officials sitting along me were also hit by the cat filter, Yousafzai told the Agence France-Presse news agency. He added: The cat filter was turned on by mistake. Lets not take everything so seriously.
All necessary actions had been taken to prevent further cat incidents in future, he said. The party put out an official statement blaming human error. The culprit, it said, was a hard-working volunteer.
The press conference went viral on Facebook, despite the stream being swiftly deleted. The party said it felt proud to have brought Pakistani politics to the internet.
It said it had pioneered social media use in the country, and had high standards of etiquette thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers, it added.