Admiral Abbasi joined the Pakistan Navy in 1979. He gained commissioned in the Navy as a lieutenant in 1981 after graduating from the Pakistan Naval Academy and being conferred the Sword of Honour. He acquired his initial training at the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth in the United Kingdom.
He is also a graduate of the Royal Australian Naval College, attending it in 1989, and has done his MSc from in War Studies from National Defence University in Islamabad. He also completed an International Surface Warfare Officers course from the USA and a Command and Staff course from Australia.
He has served the Pakistan Navy in various capacities. He served the force as an executive officer in a Tariq-class destroyer. He later joined the Submarine Branch and specialised in underwater warfare in Pakistan as well as qualified for surface warfare from the United States.
His command assignments included a role as commandant of the Naval Academy, as well as director-general of the Maritime Security Agency, which he commanded from 2010 until 2011.
From 2001–03, he was the commanding officer of the PNS Khaiber.
From 2005 until 2007, he commanded the 21st Mine Squadron and 25th Destroyer Squadron. In 2008, he was promoted to one-star rank, commodore, and was the ACNS (Operations) and later, the ACNS (Plans), until he was promoted to two-star rank in 2010.
Adm Abbasi took over command of the Combined Task Force 150 which he led from April 2010 until relieving it on October 2010. In 2013, he took over command as Commander Logistics but this was a short-lived appointment. In the same year, Abbasi was appointed as the Commander of the Karachi Coast , becoming Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) of the Pakistan Marines.
In 2014, Adm Abbasi was appointed a fleet commander of the Pakistan Navy as Commander Pakistan Fleet with a three-star rank promotion. In the same year, he was in the race to be appointed a four-star admiral and take over command of the navy as its chief, alongside Vice Adm Khan Hasham bin Saddique and Vice Adm S.A. Hussaini.
Adm Abbasi took over charge as the vice chief of naval staff in June 2017.
The latest appointment has been made on a summary initiated by the Ministry of Defence as per rules and regulations.