Abbasi was taken into police custody after his vehicle was stopped on entry to the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal said. "We were coming together to Lahore for a party meeting and press conference," said Iqbal, who was in the vehicle when Abbasi was arrested.
The former leader is accused of corrupt practices in the signing of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) contracts during his year in office as prime minister between 2017 and 2018.
He took office after PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, a three-time former prime minister, was dismissed from office by the Supreme Court. He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison on corruption charges a year later.
Nawaz Sharif's brother, Shehbaz Sharif, the former chief minister of Punjab province, was also arrested in October on corruption charges, and other family members have been held on similar charges.