He succeeds Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam, who retired Friday.
Lt. Gen. Akhtar has previously served as the director general of Pakistan Rangers in Sindh.
He was also Commander of the Infantry Brigade and Infantry Division of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in addition to serving as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) South Waziristan.
In 2008, when he was a brigadier, Lt. Akhtar attended the US Army War College in Pennsylvania.
An academic paper he wrote there argued that Pakistan "must aggressively pursue rapprochement with India".