Pakistan's vote count following a general election was hit by unusual delays on Friday, possibly due to a government decision to suspend mobile services, with no results on national parliament seats announced even 12 hours after polls closed.

The South Asian country is struggling to recover from an economic crisis while it grapples with rising militant violence in a deeply polarized political environment.

An "internet issue" was the reason behind the delay, said Zafar Iqbal, special secretary at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), after he announced the first official results in a provincial assembly.