News by VICE

Pakistani Politician Shows Off Bold, New Look

Shaukat Yousafzai, a once-dignified politician, was broadcast to the world Friday with cat ears and whiskers.

by Rex Santus
Jun 17 2019, 3:36pm

It seems the cat filter — usually reserved for fun Instagram stories — can also be an instrument of political destruction.

Take the case of a regional minister in northwest Pakistan, Shaukat Yousafzai. A once-dignified politician, he was broadcast to the world Friday with cat ears and whiskers when his staff mistakenly live-streamed a press conference with the cat filter mistakenly hovering over him.

The video, livestreamed on the Tehreek-e-Insaf party's official Facebook page, was supposed to be about local issues affecting Yousafzai’s constituents. Instead, the politician’s kitty face became the subject of global ridicule.

The party issued a statement after social-media users latched onto the mistake that the filter was a “human error” by one of the group’s volunteers. While the video was quickly removed, the screenshots circulating on Twitter will live forever.

“Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf’s social media team is deemed to be the pioneers of Social Media in Pakistan,” the statement said.

“All necessary actions have been taken to avoid such incident in [the] future with a great emphasis on strict enforcement of SOPs (standing operating procedures) and protocol for live coverage by ground teams.”

Jokes aside, Yousafzai seemed to take the incident in stride. He told Agence France-Presse that two of his colleagues also suffered under the cat filter.

"I wasn't the only one — two officials sitting along me were also hit by the cat filter," he said.

Cover image: Screenshot via livestream

Shaukat Yousafzai
regional minister