In what can be described as yet another ‘U-turn” the Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Thursday disclosed Pakistan is in fact not discussing oil supply on deferred payment with the Saudi delegation. This comes a mere day after the same Minister disclosed – in front of multiple television crews no less – that the talks were well underway. This episode follows on the heels of another embarrassing blunder, where the government was forced to say that Saudi Arabia would in fact not be a third partner in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after triumphantly maintaining for weeks that it will.

So far it seems that the only thing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government is consistent in is its inconsistency.

As was observed before, and which still holds true, negotiations involve an element of uncertainty and even the most well-intentioned plans sometimes fall through. Yet what the government is demonstrating is plain disorganisation and incompetence; different individuals presenting different narratives; plans announced before they are confirmed; and an inability to tackle mega foreign policy initiatives with the weight and diligence they deserve. The PTI is in power of the country now, not just a province, where such half-hearted attempts could fly under the radar and left room for mistakes. Amateur hour is over; the government needs to become professional, and fast.

The result of this bumbling, confused media environment has been the fact that Imran’s Saudi visit, and the bilateral investment and cooperation it promised, is now being actively undermined and tarnished. What should have been a triumphant foreign policy victory is quickly becoming an international embarrassment.

Of the three main components of the bilateral investment announced by the government – CPEC partnership, oil imports on deferred payments, and construction of an oil refinery in Gawadar – only one remains intact. Let us hope that the government can pull this off without any further hiccups.