Abbas is a founding member and Executive Director of SAHE. He is the convener for the steering committee of the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE) and a member of the steering committee for the Pakistan Association for Research in Education (PARE). He was the lead researcher for the Education in Pakistan: What Works & Why research initiative, the precursor to CQE. He has taught at the federal government Civil Services Academy.

He has numerous research publications to his credit and has recently co-edited a book, Educational Crisis and Reform: Perspectives from South Asia, with Irfan Muzaffar.

Abbas has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York